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Hassan Gouled Aptidon

The first president of Yibuti. His political career marked the republic´s history.

Hassan Gouled Aptidon was born in a small town in northern Somalia in 1916. His political career was definitive throughout Yibuti´s history as of when the nation was a colony called French Somalia. One of Gouled´s greatest contributions was his victory in the 1958 elections when his political party won (by a strong majority) against unifying with neighbouring Somalia.

Another historic moment in which Gouled participated occurred in 1977 when France called a referendum for which most of the population confirmed to be in favour of separating from France. At that time, the leader of the African League for Independence, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, became the president of the newly established republic.

However, four years after taking power, the president modified the Constitution by introducing the single party, a common practice in the African decolonisation process. Among the theorist guidelines of the official People´s Rally for Progress, multi-ethnic acceptance, the voluntary repatriation process of thousands of refugees, and the promotion of peace with bordering areas stood out, as well as facing for more than two years (until 1994) an armed guerrilla against the government.

After nearly an entire life centred on politics, and being the nation´s president from 1977 to 1999, he died at his home in 2006 at the age of 90.

Source: Wikipedia