Somaliland: Citizens Reaffirm Commitment to Democratization Process

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“Once again, citizens have shown their democratic maturity and dedication to the consolidation of peace” Dr. Mohamed A Omar

“We saw pretty free and fair elections, which contrast with some of the neighbours, it must be said.” Dr Steve Kibble

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Citizens have once again shown the world why their country deserves to be recognized and accorded full membership at the United Nations Organization.

The ministry of foreign affairs has congratulated all international partners who participated in the just concluded local council elections that attracted observers from 18 countries and a number of international organizations.

In a ministerial press statement, the minister of foreign affairs Dr. Mohamed Abdilahi Omar thanked the country’s international election partners both donors and observers for their concerted efforts that ensued with a smooth and highly successful election.

The foreign affairs chief who also congratulated citizens for the exemplary conduct during the election campaigns and polling day, said that the conduct of peaceful, free and fair elections was yet another wake-up call for the international community to re-examine its position on the country’s quest for recognition as a sovereign nation.

Said he, “The world owes our citizen dividends for their decades long commitment to peace and security as well as for their democratic and political maturity”

The minister’s statement further read “on 28th November, the second local council elections were held in very peaceful and democratic way. Once again, the people of Somaliland have shown their dedication to democratic reform and consolidation of peace. They went to the polls for the fifth time in the country’s 21 years as an independent State.”

The previous round of local council elections held ten years ago confirmed Somaliland’s emergence as a peaceful, democratic country in a region often associated with famine, war, terror and anarchy. Since then, the country has held parliamentary elections and two presidential elections, all of which were deemed free and fair by international observers—and which included the peaceful handing over of power from one president to another in 2010.

The voting took place from the westernmost regions of Somaliland’s borders with Ethiopia and Djibouti to the eastern regions of Sool and Sanaag, indicating the unity of a people committed to engaging in peaceful, democratic politics.

The Government of the Republic of Somaliland thanks its people for the peaceful conduct of the election and expresses its appreciation for the support it has received from the international community in the planning and preparation to the election.

Finally, we would like to thank all of the international election observers present in our country during this election to ensure that the elections are conducted in a manner fully consistent with international standards.

Dr. Mohamed A Omar

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Republic of Somaliland

Despite the 21 years unrecognized status of their country Somalilanders have for the past decade demonstrated a political and democratic maturity that has become the envy of many third world nations where mayhem is the order during elections.

Particularly heartening has been wide participation by female voters, a boost in numbers of female candidates and, thanks to the lowering of the qualifying age, youthful candidates standing in significant numbers.

To crown its reputation as an oasis of peace only four casualties ensued as a result of election violence during the one day exercise that saw polls take place in all the twenty one local governments in the country for the first as informed by the minister of interior Hon Mohamed Duur Arale and police chief Gen Abdilahi Fadal Iman

The election which will also determine the government’s three major political parties had seven contesting political groups that fielded 2,368 candidates for the 350 seats within the country’s 21 local governments.

The constitution stipulates that only three political parties are allowed registration, as this lessens the prospect of the population dividing itself according to clan and/or region affiliations.

During a preliminary briefing on the 29th Nov the international observer mission-IEO which had representatives from 18 countries and several organizations and had a presence in each of the 21 local councils termed the elections as a success.

According to Dr. Steve Kibble, joint coordinator of the international observer mission-IEO “Somaliland has proved that it’s on the road to some form of democracy of its own making. We saw pretty free and fair elections, which contrast with some of the neighbours’, it must be said.”

While terming the local council elections a rather complicated process where people vote for a local councillor, but also are voting to streamline seven political parties into three registered parties under the constitution, Dr. Kibble informed that a few allegations of improper election conduct were reported.

Said he, “There have been allegations of underage people attempting to vote, multiple voting and of the government driving its supporters to the polling stations. There are also reports of police firing in the air as part of crowd control.

“These are just allegations at the moment,” he said, “We will obviously try and check those out as much as possible. But the overwhelming mood from our observers, at the moment, is that things went along fine.” added Dr Kibble

In the meantime, the IEO team encourages Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission to ensure a transparent and accurate tabulation process and declaration of final results.

While commending the National Election Commission-NEC for ensuring that voting has gone ahead on November 28th as scheduled the IEO team encourages Electoral body to ensure a transparent and accurate tabulation process and declaration of final resu

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