A law passed in October 1981 restricted political activity to the ruling People's Rally for Progress (Rassemblement Populaire pour le Progrès—RPP). That year, the government temporarily detained the leaders of and banned the Djiboutian People's Party (Parti Populaire Djiboutien). There were also illegal Issa and Afar parties, including an Ethiopian-backed Afar party-in-exile and a Somali-backed Issa party-in-exile. For the 1987 elections to the Chamber of Deputies, a single list of candidates was drawn up by the RPP, headed by President Gouled; about 90% of the nation's 100,985 voters cast ballots.
Despite the 1992 constitutional changes that legalized opposition party political activity, and the official acceptance of four registered political parties, Djibouti is still tightly controlled by the RPP (People's Rally for Progress). After the January 2003 election, the RPP held all 65 seats in the legislature in addition to the presidency. The moderate and perhaps co-opted wing of the FRUD (Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy, originally formed in 1991) lost its 11 seats. In the capital, Djibouti-Ville, the opposition Union pour une Alternance Démocratique (UAD) took 44.9% of the votes, and the UMP 55%.
Two groups, the Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) and the Democratic National Party (PND) have contested elections since 1992. FRUD-Renaissance, which separated from the FRUD in 1996, signed a peace accord in Paris on 7 February 2000 with the government, which also included a general release of prisoners held by both sides. The Movement for Unity and Democracy (MUD) allegedly is associated with the Somali National Movement operating out of northern Somalia. It is a coalition of Afar-oriented and Issa-oriented dissidents.