By: Yusuf M Hasan
LONDON (Somalilandsun) – The election body is finalizing arrangements for the local council polls.
A two member National Election Commission-NEC Team is London to procure print materials for use during the polls with seven contesting political organizations and slated for 28 November of this year.
Commissioners Abdirahman Mohamed Ismail ‘Dihood’ and Farah Abiib Aden are in London to collect elections materials from a contractor based in the east of the English city where the duo has been for the past three days.
During an interview with Hatuf newspaper Commissioner Dihood revealed that NEC dispatched them to London to collect voting materials from the printing agency contracted by the Somaliland election body.
“All the print material required for the November local council elections are ready and we are here to collect them for dispatch home,” said the commissioner.
The commissioners who informed their hosts in London welcomed them with Somaliland flags that adorn their lodgings and transport, said that nothing would hold the elections back as pertains to print materials.
On the other hand, NEC has issued candidates with their specific election identification numbers that are in use for the first time replacing symbols used in past elections after parliament made amendments to election laws.
The numbers issued by NEC come a fortnight after the election body warned political groups and their candidates against display of numbers in their posters unless it (NEC) issued them thus deter what it termed as confusion to voters.
The need to replace election symbols with numbers that raised heated debate in parliament where it was rejected twice, got legislators approval only after NEC argued that using symbols made the elections management a nightmare.
The pros and cons for replacing symbols with numbers revolved around NEC claiming that it was impossible to apportion symbols for each candidate from seven parties in one paper i.e. in Hargeisa region each of the seven parties has 25 candidates thus a total of 175 names+pictures+symbols= Impossible thus the elimination of symbols.
On their part the legislators who were later convinced after two rejections of the amendment argued that most voters were illiterate thus, symbols were imperative for clear identification of their chosen candidate.
To ally parliamentarians fears NEC conducted a one-day mock election that saw 200 voters equally representation gender, education and age take part at the election body’s headquarters in Hargeisa where a number of foreign election experts observed.