Djibouti was previously known as French Somaliland and the The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas. On 27th June 1977 it gained independence from France and became known as the Republic of Djibouti.

Initially the government tried to maintain a balance between the Issa of Somali origin and the Afar of Ethiopian origin. However in 1981 President Hassan Gouled Aptidon introduced an authoritarian one party state led by his Issa community. The Popular Rally for Progress (RPP) was the ruling party but this led to civil war in the 1990s.

In 1992 a limited multi-party system was introduced with four parties contesting 65 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The RPP took all 65 seats.

The civil war continued and in 1994 a power sharing deal was struck which brought the Afar rebels party, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) into government.

In December 1997 the RPP in alliance with FRUD won all 65 seats.. The opposition Party of Democratic Renewal (PRD) and the National Democratic Party (PND) were both unsuccessful.

The election of 10th January 2003 was the first fully multi-party election. The campaign was contested between two coalitions,

The Union for a Presidential Majority (UMP) which comprised the People’s Rally for Progress (RPP), the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD), the National Democratic Party (PND) and the Social Democratic People’s Party (PPSD).

They were opposed by the Union for a Democratic Alternative (UAD) consisting of the Republican Alliance for Democracy (ARD), Movement for Democratic Renewal and Development (the PRD with changed name), Djibouti Party for Development (PDD) and the Djibouti Union for Democracy and Justice (UDJ).

The UMP won all 65 seats with 62.7% of the votes against the UAD which took 37.3%. The electoral system is based upon a winner takes all for those that have gained the majority in a seat.

On 8th February 2008 there was a further general election which was boycotted by the UAD and so the UMP won all 65 seats again.

There have been two heads of state for Djibouti, Hassan Gouled Aptidon was President from 1977 to 1999 and Ismail Omar Guelleh who was elected President in 1999 and again in 2005 (unopposed).

The President is elected for a six year term with a second consecutive term permitted.

The Parliament is a unicameral Chamber of Deputies with 65 members elected to serve five-year terms.

The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 places Djibouti at joint 123rd out of 176 countries with a CPI 2016 score of 30 (where 100 is least corrupt).