UPDATE 1-Djibouti president leads in vote, calls for unity

* Vote gives president Guelleh a third term

* President calls on the country to unite

(Adds details, background)

By Abdourahim Arteh

DJIBOUTI, April 9 (Reuters) – Djibouti’s President Ismail
Omar Guelleh garnered 80.58 percent of votes cast in the
country’s elections on Friday, provisional results showed on
Saturday, giving him a third term in power.

Interior Minister Yacin Elmi Bouh said Guelleh’s rival,
Mohamed Warsama, got 19.42 percent of votes cast in the
election, which had a 69.68 percent turnout.

Just over 152,000 people are registered to vote in the small
Red Sea state which has the only U.S. military base in Africa,
and the largest French army camp on the continent, and is used
by anti-piracy naval patrols.

Guelleh called on television for all Djiboutians to unite
and start work so they could overcome the challenges ahead
together.

He said that whatever people voted there were more things
that united Djiboutians than divided them, adding that it was
not a victory on one side, but for the nation as a whole.

The opposition in the former French colony initially
boycotted the ballot and tried to start Egyptian-style protests
in February, but thereafter supported independent candidate
Warsama, a former president of the country’s Constitutional
Court.

Guelleh, 63, has been in power since 1999 and a change in
the constitution in 2010 allowed him to run for a third term, a
move that angered opposition leaders.

Djibouti serves as a port for its landlocked neighbour
Ethiopia, which accounts for about 70 percent of traffic, and is
also bordered by Eritrea and Somalia. Its economy is chiefly
based on the port, which is run by Dubai’s DP World (DPW.DI: Quote, Profile, Research).
(Editing by George Obulutsa and Philippa Fletcher)

UPDATE 1-Djibouti president leads in vote, calls for unity