Djibouti is a republic with presidential rule
following the French model. Following a referendum, a
new constitution came into force in 1992, which meant
that the former one-party system was formally abolished.
Despite this, politics is largely dominated by the
ruling party coalition Union for the Majority (UMP).
The president is the country's head of state and
government and is elected in direct, general elections
for a term of five years. Since a constitutional
amendment was made in 2010, there are no restrictions on
how many times the president can be re-elected. The
president has the executive power and appoints a prime
minister to lead government work. After discussions with
the Prime Minister, the President appoints other
Ministers. The government is responsible to the
president, who is also the commander-in-chief of the
country's armed forces.
Total population and chart of Djibouti for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The Legislative Parliament, the National
Assembly, has 65 members elected in general
elections for a five-year term. Since 2012, 52 members
have been elected through elections in one-man
constituencies and 13 members in proportional elections.
Before that, all places were added by choice in one-man
election circles. 16 of the mandates (25 percent) are
reserved for women. All members must have reached the
age of 23 and speak fluent French or Arabic. Judges,
military and police are not allowed to run in general
elections. The voting age is 18 years.
Djibouti is divided into five regions - Ali Sabih,
Dikhil, Obock, Tadjoura and Arta - as well as the
administrative unit Djibouti (the capital), which in
turn is divided into three municipalities. General
elections to regional and municipal assemblies are held
every five years.
Formally, multi-party systems are applied, but the
policy is dominated by the ruling party RPP (see below).
Opposition parties have had a hard time gaining
influence since independence in 1977. This is partly
because the electoral system with one-man constituencies
favors the largest party, partly because the influential
security service harasses the opposition and because the
government gets almost all the space in the
In addition, personal relationships and, not least,
customer affiliation, in fact, play a greater role than
political parties. The rivalry that exists between the
two large peoples Issa and Afar (see Population and
Languages) has often led to political unrest.
Since 1999, Djibouti has been governed by President
Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, who belongs to the Issa people. His
party Popular Collection for Progress (Rassemblement
populaire pour le progrès, RPP) is issa-based,
although it says it strives to also represent the Afars.
RPP was formed in 1979 and was the only allowed party
between 1982 and 1992.
The RPP is part of the Union for the
Majority Presidential Union (UMP),
which is a coalition of parties supporting Guelleh. The
UMP also includes Frud (see below), the National
Democratic Party (Parti national democratique,
PND) and the Social Democratic
Party (Parti Social Democrat, PSD).
The Front for the Restoration of Unity and
Democracy (Front pour la restoration de l'unité
et de la demokratie, Frud)
was founded in 1991 by Afar politicians in exile and in
the same year initiated a revolt that developed into
civil war (see Modern history). A faction of Frud signed
a peace agreement with the government in 1994 and was
recognized in 1996 as a political party. In 1997,
representatives of Frud were incorporated into the
government. A radical phalanx broke out of Frud and
continued the fighting, but in 2001 also this peace with
the government. Fraud is now part of Guelleh's coalition
The oldest opposition party, the Movement for
a Democratic Rebirth and Development (Mouvement
pour le renoveau démocratique et le développement,
MRD), was formed in 1992 and was named
until 2003 the Democratic Rebirth Party (PRD). Another
major opposition party is the Republican
Alliance for Democracy (Alliance Republican La
Democracy, ARD). It was formed in 2001
by Frudge leavers who were disappointed with the
cooperation with the government.
In 2013, the leading opposition parties founded the
Alliance National Rescue Union (Union pour le salut
national, USN), which in the election that year received
21 seats in the National Assembly. The alliance included
ARD, MRD, PDD and UDJ (see below).
Prior to the 2018 election, USN had split. Only two
of the alliance parties lined up with candidates.
The Union for Democracy and Justice,
(Union pour la democratie et la justice, UDJ)
formed an electoral alliance with the Djibouti
Party for Development (the Djibouti pour le
développement, PDD) which won 7 seats.
The election was boycotted entirely by the MRD and by
the majority within the ARD (a fraction of the ARD lined
up with candidates in one place but received no
mandate). The relatively newly formed Party for
Action, Democracy and Ecological Development (Rassemblement
pour l'action, la democratie et le développement
ecologique, Radde), which in early 2017
won a couple of seats in the capital's local elections
was not allowed to stand. A mandate went to the
United Center Democrats (Center des democrates
There are opposition groups in exile, especially in
France and Belgium, which in some cases have succeeded
in getting the EU and France to press for the government
to implement political reforms.
Illegal immigrants are expelled
The government is launching a campaign to gather and expel so-called illegal
immigrants, a group that constitutes around one-sixth of the population at that
The government alliance wins the election
The government-loyal Alliance Union for Presidential Majority (UMP), with the
Government Party Popular Collection for Progress (RPP) at the forefront, wins
the country's first parliamentary election since full multi-party democracy was
introduced. The UMP wins all 65 seats in the Legislative National Assembly. The
electoral system means that the main opposition alliance, the Union for a
Democratic Alternative (UAD), will be completely without seats in the National
Assembly, despite receiving 37 percent of the vote. The UAD accuses the UMP of
electoral fraud but the Election Commission approves the election result.