The three main political coalitions in Djibouti over the weekend held election rallies ahead of the country's parliamentary elections slated to take place on the 22 February 2013.
The opposition Union for National Salvation (USN) coalition, formerly the Holy Union for Change, held a rally in Balbala on Sunday, led by Ismail Gedi Hared, Surrounded by supporters wearing orange, USN candidates reiterated their desire for free and fair elections. "The time of bosses who cling to power is now over and the will of the people must speak for change," Hared said.
Also on Sunday, Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, leader of the ruling Union for a Presidential Majority (UMP) coalition, presented candidates from the coalition to supporters wearing green near Gouled stadium, Djibouti's La Nation reported. UMP leaders asked the Djiboutian people not to be swayed by the promises of opposition parties. "Thanks to the policies implemented by President Ismail [Guelleh] and parties that make up this coalition, our country is advancing, changing and building itself, and its future looks bright," said Hassan Said Goumaneh, one of the UMP's major candidates.
Meanwhile, the centrist Centre for Unified Democrats (CDU) met with its supporters at the municipal stadium in Farah Had on Monday, led by Omar ElmiKhaireh. Khaireh called on supporters to vote in the upcoming elections, decrying problems in the current administration, including corruption, nepotism and favoritism, which he said are hindering Djibouti's economic progress.
Campaigning for the elections opened on Friday (February 8th) and will continue for two weeks. This is Djibouti's first election without the majority-list system, and is expected to give minority parties a larger voice in government.