Conducted in 2016 the study does not include Voter distribution outcome
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun- A vast majority of citizens (88.2%) iindicated that they are planning to vote in the upcoming presidential elections. The main motive towards this participation is a desire to exercise their right (24%); to serve their country (24%); and as a way of supporting their preferred party (15%).
This is according to findings of a 2016 Somaliland Voter Behaviour study conducted by the Academy for Peace and Development-APO in which 13% of the respondents perceived voting as a national duty while, only 2% of the respondents said they vote to support their clan and only 9% of the respondents stated that they were not planning to vote.
Other findings of the APD study conducted as part of the Interpeace Somali Programme, which complements ongoing democratization work with the Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC) which had the overall aim of understanding voter behaviour in Somaliland, with particular focus on the upcoming presidential elections included
• Television as the primary source of information (60%) by a large margin. This was followed by the internet (15%) and radio (12%).
•The majority of the respondents (73%) had information about the upcoming presidential elections in 2017. Of these people, 36% felt they had a lot of information, particularly respondents from Sanaag and Togdheer. Only 25% of the respondents felt they had no information about the upcoming elections , with these respondents concentrated mainly in Saahil and Maroodi-jeex. Men reported slightly more access to information and the proportion of females reporting no information about the elections was signi cantly higher than that of their males (32% compared to 18%).
• A large proportion of respondents were satis ed with the performance of the NEC. Around one-third of the respondents (34%) said that they are very satis ed with the performance of the institution, while around one-tenth (10%) of respondents said they are satis ed with its performance.
•The majority of the respondents (78%) reported that they participated in the 2012 local council elections. Sanaag and Togdheer regions had the highest proportion of participation, constituting 86% and 84% respectively. In contrast, the regions of Sool and Maroodi-jeex had the lowest proportion of those who participated in the elections.
• A significant majority (84%) of respondents perceived voter registration positively. In total, 53.2% described it as ‘very good’ and 30% as ‘good’. Linked to this, the survey found that an overwhelming majority of the respondents (91%) are registered to vote in the coming presidential elections. Sanaag, Togdheer and Awdal regions had the highest proportion of those who registered (95%, 94% and 93%, respectively),. The survey found that of those who registered, only 6% reported they had tried to do so more than once.
Somaliland Voter Behaviour Study Report by APD
This study was conducted by the Academy for Peace and Development (APD) as part of the Interpeace Somali Programme, which complemented ongoing democratization work with the Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC). In November 2017, Somaliland will hold its third presidential elections in a period of 14 years. The date for the elections was set by the House of Elders after several extensions due to many factors including the severe drought that was experienced in Somaliland over the last year. Despite the delays, several important elements of the Somaliland Democratization process have been successfully accomplished to date. In particular, voter registration was concluded with the end of eld operations in September 2016 that was followed by the production of the Provisional Voter List in December 2016. At the time of writing this report, preparations for the distribution of voter cards and the challenges and appeals process were well underway. While the production of a credible voter register was an important milestone in Somaliland’s democratization process, it was important to complement the technical work carried out by NEC with an understanding of how the citizens of Somaliland viewed the process and an analysis of the current state of democratic culture in Somaliland. To that end, this survey was initiated to examine, describe, and interpret the behaviour of voters, as perceived by the survey respondents, who are key stakeholders in the democratisation process.
Given how little research has been conducted on voter behaviour in Somaliland, this mixed methods research aimed to address this gap by exploring why citizens vote and what influences their voting patterns.
In addition, the study attempted to unearth the allegiance of voters with parties and candidates. Such a study will help academics and practitioners understand important aspects of voter behaviour in Somaliland, such as voter apathy, access to information and voting by vulnerable groups, and ‘anti-democratic’ attitudes among voters. Such information will help the government and other stakeholders design better civic education programs in response to the voter behaviours and take other appropriate actions to promote the credibility of future electoral processes.
aspect of Somaliland’s democratization described the previous electoral process as fair and democratic, certain issues of electoral misconduct and challenges have been raised in the past. Some of those challenges were the result of a lack of a credible voter register, delayed elections, incomplete electoral laws, security issues that preclude elections to be held in certain areas of the country and minimal voter education.5 Even though the previous elections were viewed as a positive step toward genuine and representative democracy, recent studies have pointed out other factors that may threaten the authenticity of the whole process in the long-term. For instance, a recent study, commissioned by Rift Valley Institute (RVI), raised concern on the high cost of election campaigning in a largely poor society.6 Another issue is the male-dominated traditional and political institutions that continue to prevent or limit women’s representation and participation in decision making within the public sphere. Finally, the lack of a vibrant and independent media, which is an important pillar of promoting accountability and transparency in established democracies, means that politicians and other elite leaders are not made to account for their actions and words. Even though the issues raised from these studies have enhanced the understanding of Somaliland’s democratization process, it is significant that none of these studies have focused behaviours or perceptions of voters.
The Academy for Peace and Development (APD) was established in 1998 as a research institute in collaboration with Interpeace. The Academy for Peace and Development (APD) is legally registered as an organization under the Ministry of National Planning and Development.
Since its inception, APD core activities have mainly focused in peace-building using Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology. The organization has brought together representatives from different sectors of society to identify priorities in the process of rebuilding Somaliland. The Academy has been instrumental in facilitating dialogue on issues such as peacebuilding, state building human rights, democracy and good governance. Read more
Follow the link to Read full details of the APD
Somaliland Voter Behaviour Study