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Analysis: Renewed hopes for international recognition, prosperity as Somaliland goes for local & parliamentary election

Voters queuing to cast their ballots in Somaliland’s local and parliamentary election in the capital Hargeisa

By Bileh Jelan @BilehJelan 

Hargeisa, Somaliland, May 31/2021 – Parliamentary and Local districts elections are being held today in all six regions in Somaliland. The elections have been tentatively scheduled and postponed numerous times since the last parliamentary polls in 2005. Most recently, the vote was scheduled for March, and then August, 2019, before the National Electoral Commission declared it could not be held that year. On July 12 2020, Somaliland’s three main political parties reached an agreement to hold parliamentary and local elections by the end of the year. After several weeks of negotiations with the National Electoral Commission on the practicability of organizing elections in that time, a revised date of May 2021 was settled upon. 

From left: the incumbent President Muse Bihi Abdi of Kulmiye; Abdulrahman Mohammed Abdullahi of Waddani; and Faysal Ali Warabe of UCID. Pictures: Office of the President

Addis Standard learned yesterday that the Ministry of Interior issued orders restricting movements inside cities as well as cross country travel until the closing of the polls by the end of Today, with exemptions given to security apparatus, the red crescent and a number governmental institutions as well as some private businesses. All Businesses, Banks and all organizations were closed to comply with the ministry’s orders with the exception of supermarkets and grocers stores. 

“The Somaliland elections are much better in terms of security and performance in multi-party elections in the continent of Africa and some parts of the world.”

Mohamed Kahin Ahmed

The Minister of interior, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed gave a brief presser where he said, “The Somaliland elections are much better in terms of security and performance in multi-party elections in the continent of Africa and some parts of the world.” The minister added speaking on the nature of elections, “This election is the first time we have two elections at the same time and it is very heavy for us but we believe that it will go on and our people are experienced. I as a minister of interior affairs can confirm that elections have kicked off in a peaceful manner in all six regions and all 2,709 polling stations are operational now.” The minister concluded his presser by saying, “We believe that our people for the sake of national interest, will go through this election with peace and stability of the country in mind.” The minister answering questions by foreign journalists said, “This election is very important for having recognition from the international community, strengthening our democratic process.” 

Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives and leader of the opposition, Abdulrahman Mohammed Abdullahi on his part said in a brief presser, “The political process in Somaliland is democratic unlike many African countries who have been independent for the last 60 years,” he added, “I suggest that the international community pay attention to Somaliland.” He concluded his remarks by answering questions. On the question of more international recognition he said, “After this election that is what we expect. I think Somaliland is eligible for recognition because it has met all requirements that are necessary to effect democracy.” 

“I feel great because I get to choose who represents me. Every part of the country will be represented now by candidates chosen by the people.”

Amin Abdi

Shortly after the President and Speaker voted, Voters were lining up to vote in different polling stations situated all over the capital Hargeisa. Amin Abdi, a 25 years old public health professional, was one of hundreds lined up in front of Somaliland’s Civil Service Commission polling station. He told Addis Standard, “I feel great because I get to choose who represents me,” he continued, “Every part of the country will be represented now by candidates chosen by the people.” Abdulhakim Mohammed, 33, another voter lined up to vote at the same polling station complimented Amin and added, “What we really hope for is for the world to recognize us and start opening up to us.”

“What I expect after this election is to see more development projects sanctioned by an elected parliament.”

Ali Abdullahi

At a different polling station, situated around Somaliland’s Central Bank Ali Abdullahi, 41 said, “What I expect after this election is to see more development projects sanctioned by an elected parliament.”  Fatuma Ali, 24 also lined up in a separate line. The electoral commission applied separate voting booths for men and women and organized voters in separate lines based on gender. Fatuma who is voting for the first time told Addis Standard while waiting for her turn, “This is great, I hope that this huge women voters turnout will result in more participation of women in the political discourse of the country.” 

According to Somaliland’s National Elections Commission (SLNEC), 2,709 polling stations are open for 1,056,847 registered voters and a total of 1,020 candidates

According to Somaliland’s National Elections Commission (SLNEC), 2,709 polling stations are open for 1,056,847 registered voters and a total of 1,020 candidates (360 for parliament and 660 for local councils) are competing in 23 districts. The candidates represent the three political parties participating in elections these are Kulmiye Peace, Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye), the incumbent ruling party led by President Muse Bihi Abdi , Waddani led by the speaker of the House of People’s Representatives, Abdulrahman Mohammed Abdullahi and Justice and Welfare Party (UCID) led by Faysal Ali Warabe. Biometric voter registration was applied in the process to this election. AS



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