Somaliland: The Questionable Legality of the 2011 Constitutional Referendum


The Somaliland constitutional referendum that took place in 2001 was not conducted by elected government and elected not legislative body

more than 97% voted for the new Somaliland constitution and permanent revocation of union with Somalia

By Ismail Yusuf

Somalilandsun – A referendum vote on a ballot question is a direct vote whereby citizens are asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, constitution, or law. The word referendum was taken from Latin verb refero, which means bring to the question back to the people. A referendum usually offers the electorate only two choices, either to accept or reject a proposal and the same is conducted by elected government and legislative parliament. There are certain terms and conditions to exercise a free and fair referendum, which some of them are listed below.

1. The referendum must be performed and supervised by elected government.

2. Media Freedoms

3. Free and fair contest to meet the criteria of transparency

4. Free movements.

5. Opponents excess of free movement

6. Opponents sanctioned for campaigning

7. Availability of registered voters.

8. Availability of national census, which proves total population of the state

9. Availability of neutral observes and Independent Monitoring Structures

10. The same must have regard to national planning policy

11. It must be compatible with international obligations and human rights requirements.

12. Freedom of Expression, Assembly, and Association.

13. Full Information about the Constitution.

14. Freedom of association and assembly.

15. Absences of detention of Political Activists.

16. Peaceful atmosphere free from any hostility

When Somaliland constitutional referendum that took place on 31 May 2001, none of the 16 conditions which are listed above were meet up and therefore, the so called constitution, which is having today, is purely written to suit president Egal administration that was not by public on vote. More justifications which supports that the constitutional referendum was not conducted on free and fair basis are listed below.

1. Egal administration charged life sentences to respected prominent Somaliland politicians that he considered threat and against his administration.

2. Egal administration charged life sentences to many of political opponents.

3. There were politician detainees when Egal administration conducted the so called constitution

4. People of Somaliland were not healed from the wounds of the civil war which is started in 1994 and 1997.

5. In order tailoring the constitution the means that he prefers, Egal isolated politically the key Somaliland politicians that he feels threat to his regime.

6. Egal administration deported prominent Somaliland personality from his home land just because he feels threat to his administration.

7. The people who voted for constitutional referendum were influenced for voting on tribal basis and not by common national interest.

8. No voter’s registration when the referendum took place in 2001.

9. No National census which confirms the total population of Somaliland.

10. The constitutional referendum did not take place almost 30 % of Somaliland territory.

11. The 97.7 % acceptance for the constitutional referendum is comparable to the referendum conducted by dictatorial regimes in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

12. The present constitution was written by Egal administration during Somaliland civil war (1996/7) and this evidence that complete public participation was absent.

In conclusions, taken into considerations for 28 circumstances listed above, we need re-writing our constitutions, since we have at present a democratic elected government and elected parliament, as this may influence international community blessings. The non-standard referendum conducted by Egal administration was not won the blessings by any of the world member states.

The views reflcted in this article are solely those of the author 


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