HARGEISA– The main opposition party in the breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somalia is in danger of splitting amid standoff over the prospective candidate who would become the party’s deputy flag bearer and the vice president if the party wins the upcoming presidential elections.

The development has the potential to shore up Wadani party’s rival ruling party Kulmiye which may exploit the lingering friction and rifts between leaders of the opposition who failed to break the deadlock

The party’s latest meeting was in an uproar on Thursday after members failed in their effort to agree on the presumptive candidate in opposition to party leader’s favorite pick.

An attempt by Somaliland’s parliament speaker Abdurrahman Irro who is also the opposition party’s leader to have Mohamed Ali selected for the bare-chested deputy flagbearer failed, forcing key members to walk out of the meeting hall.

His opponents in the party have instead suggested the selection of Mumin Seed, a proposal dismissed by the leader.

Meanwhile, political analysts predicted that the ruling party would use the discord within the opposition to bolster its own international and local standing and position to portray itself as potentially a better-united party.

The party’s deadlock comes amid concerns raised by Somaliland’s main opposition parties that accused the government of president Ahmed Silanyo of seeking a new ‘unconstitutional’ term extension and postpone the presidential election which is set to take place in March 17 next year.

Subsequent protests by opposition parties have led to criticism by the international community, with the UK government warned that further delays in holding the upcoming presidential elections would tarnish the image and reputation of the enclave often referred as an oasis of peace in the volatile region.

However, the government insisted it’d hold timely presidential elections.

Somaliland, a breakaway region in northern Somalia has declared a unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991; however, no country has so far recognized it as an independent state.

By Shine Kahin, shine.kahin@alleastafrica.com

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