UK Urges President Silanyo to Re-think his Decision on Separation of Somaliland Elections

By: Mahmoud Qodah

Hargeisa (Somaliland Monitor) – President of Somaliland Republic Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo on this week issued a decision in which he separated presidential election from the Parliamentary election, as he justified that the latter one is currently not technically feasible and may lead to confrontation that could spoil the presidential election and possibly lead to the postponement of both elections.

Following British delegation’s meeting with President Ahmed Silanyo, UK On behalf Of the [US, UK, EU, UN, Sweden, Denmark] and the Somaliland Elections Donor Working Group issued a press statement in which it has expressed its concern over the President of Somaliland’s decision to delay Somaliland’s Parliamentary March 2017 elections.

This has been confirmed in a press statement released by the British office in Somaliland. It is likewise stated that this delay was not needed and that it will damage public and international confidence in democratization process of Somaliland.

Following the inability of the 3 national political parties (KULMIYE, UCID and WADANI) and the House of Representatives to reach a unanimous decision on equitable representation of Parliamentary seats in which they finally agreed to return the issue to the President for taking a final decision, President Ahmed Silanyo took a call in which he noted that the Presidential Election will be separated from the Parliamentary ballot in order to facilitate necessary seats allocation review, thus subsequently postponing the Parliamentary ballot while Presidential Election remains as scheduled on the 28th March 2017.

“Having realized that if we hold a parliamentary election under the current allocation framework or on the basis of another unsatisfactory arrangement hastily devised which may lead to confrontation that could spoil the presidential election and lead to the postponement of both elections,” said President Ahmed Silanyo in his press statement as he justified his postponement decision on the parliamentary elections.

UK in their press statement, it also warned that the delay would affect International community’s engagement with Somaliland.

“The postponement has been 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. The people of Somaliland have queued in record numbers to register to vote in both elections, and have a legitimate expectation that they will be allowed to exercise this vote.   The International Community has provided substantial support to this electoral process on the basis of Somaliland’s commitments to timely, concurrent Presidential and Parliamentary elections. The imminent and successful completion of the voter registration process determines a clear timeline for the polls in March 2017, which we cannot afford to change. Donors have invested heavily in the electoral preparation and do not want to see this commitment undermined and depleted by continuous delays”

UK added that the International Community will not be able to fund the additional costs that the decision to delay the Parliamentary elections will incur, the burden of which will therefore regrettably fall on the Somaliland people.

“The International Community agrees that Somaliland reconciliation is an important objective.  We call on the President to urgently set out a clear process, with timelines, to achieve a fair seat allocation formula and political representation for all Somalilanders in the election of their Parliament.  We reiterate that fixed term Parliamentary elections now would still enable both reforms in the parliamentary seat allocation and a reconciliation process to take place during the Parliamentary term. We therefore urge the President of Somaliland to reconsider his decision, and to hold the Presidential and Parliamentary elections together in March 2017.”

Mohamoud Qodah is the Co-editor-in-chief of Somaliland Monitor. He also serves as the assistant editor of the Republican English weekly newspaper published by Jamhuuriya media Group.

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1 COMMENT

  1. The International Community is overly concerned with timelines here while the President is concerned about an all-inclusive representation formula that will outlive any artificial time deadlines here.

    Of course I see the logic on both sides arguments. There have been delays in elections already and the citizens are concerned. You only have to look to the recent riots in Kinsasha to understand this.

    I am happy to see that the presidential elections are not the issue as of now. Or are there things the general public doesn’t know? I hope not. The incumbent has already stated that he will NOT be contesting and we have to believe him.

    All over the world, presidential and parliamentary elections are done concurrently. Otherwise maintaining separate voters register would amount to duplication and would be a costly exercise indeed.

    Ultimately the continued peace, security and stability of Somaliland should be priority. I watch with keen interest what will happen next.

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