As president Silanyo responds to International community’s condemnation of decision to separate presidential and parliamentary elections.
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somaliland sun- The people of Somaliland elected the president to represent them and make decisions on their behalf as pertains to all national aspects even elections as is norm with other democratic countries.
This was informed by President Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo in response to a statement released by the British embassy in Somalia in which the international community more so the somaliland democratization partners condemned the decision to postpone parliamentary elections initially slated for March 2017.
“While we do expect the International Community to lend its support to the democratization process Presidential elections shall be held on the 28th March 2017 as planned while Parliamentary ones have been postponed to a pending date” said the head of state adding that the decision shall be implemented with or without external assistance..
Last week and attributing the contested regionally inequitable legislature seats allocation, termed detrimental to the stability of Somaliland, President Silanyo announced that the country’ presidential elections shall be held as planned while parliamentary elections have been delayed, pending Guurti approval.
In lieu of the imperatives involved in establishing fully approved regional seats allocation thence attain desired equitable representation, which haste might impinge negatively, to the detriment of the country’s democratization process, it is my view that caution and broad based national consultations must be, said the president in justification of his decision adding that his office intervened in the disputed seats allocation after political parties gave him the mandate after failing to reach consensus
For most in the Democratization support committee composed of international community stakeholders who are major donors to the process, holding both presidential and parliamentary elections as slated is not only technically feasible but a must as well.
In the statement, expressing the international community’s deep concern over the Somaliland head of state’s decision, the British embassy in Somalia said that unnecessary delay announced without a clear legal or constitutional basis and despite the Chief Justice’s ruling that the Presidential and Parliamentary elections should take place jointly in March, will not only harm public and international confidence in Somaliland’s democratization process but will have implications for the international community engagement with Somaliland
For citizens who are part and parcel of the clamor for equitable legislature seats allocation regionally, the issue is not why the the president separated the ballot but poignant is that the Silanyo erred in postponing parliamentary and leaving presidential elections as slated.
For it is true that the current parliament elected to office in 2005 has overstayed its term thence illegally in office therefore better delay presidential polls but hold legislature ones expeditiously.
The stage is clearly set for a diplomatic confrontation in which the IC which seems to be using financial support as a carrot to force March 2017 elections at all costs and a Somaliland administration and legislature that perceives national stability, security and peaceful co-existence as paramount to any and including the ballot.
Below verbatim excerpts of president Silanyo’s rejoinder to the IC
Press Release. 18/09/2016
A response to a written statement released by the UK government on behalf of the international community [US, UK, EU, UN, SWEDEN, and DENMARK] and the Somaliland Elections Donor Working Group.
Subject: Somaliland Parliamentary and Presidential Elections
1. The president made a carefully considered, legitimate, and widely supported decision based on political, constitutional and technical grounds.
2. The president decided to delay parliamentary elections after taking into consideration:
a. Part 1 and part 2 of Article 8, Article 22 and Article 90 of the constitution,
b. The decision of the Constitutional court of the Republic of Somaliland concerning the election of the House of Representatives in 2005, according to which the allocation was meant for only one election, and subsequent allocations would be based on census,
c. The concerns raised by Awdal, Sool, Sanaag and Maroodijeex regions as well as minorities and women about representation and allocation of seats in parliament,
d. The decision of the political parties to delegate to and abide by the resolution of the president on the issue concerning the election of the House of Representatives,
e. The reconciliation process under way in Sool and Sanaag regions
f. The need for inclusive, free and fair elections,
g. The time required to address the complex challenges surrounding each of the above,
3. It is true that parliament overstayed its term.
4. It is true that citizens should exercise their right to elect their representatives in parliament.
5. It is true that the international community invested heavily in all the elections held in Somaliland, which we recognize and appreciate
6. That is not the issue; the issue is whether we want to have an election fixed on a target date preferred by the international community or whether we want to have an election that fits our circumstances which is fair, inclusive and legitimate.
7. The choice is obvious: we want to have the right election at the right time, not the right election at the wrong time.
8. Time is an important factor but not the most important in elections in our context.
9. The most important factors are security, stability and unity based on fairness, and inclusive participation.
10. The people of Somaliland elected the president to represent them and make decisions on their behalf, including difficult ones and the president decided:
a. That we could not hold the next parliamentary election under the current seat allocation formula,
b. To hold the presidential election on time in March 2017,
c. To appoint a commission to work on a fairer and more equitable allocation formula,
d. To delay parliamentary elections in accordance with established legal procedure, which requires the President to send a Presidential Proposition to Parliament, which upon approval goes to the Constitutional Court and then to the House of Elders for consideration,
11. Presidential and Parliamentary elections will be held as planed with or without external assistance. But we do expect the International Community to lend its support to both.
12. Somaliland enjoys today peace and stability in a democratic political framework due to its consensus building tradition and ownership of its decisions which we hope the international community will continue to respect.
Hussein Adan Igeh (Deyr)