Sep 21, 2009

Somaliland: Concern Over Postponement of Poll

Active Image Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at University College London (UCL) and Somaliland Focus (UK) express profound disappointment at the indefinite postponement of Somaliland’s long-overdue presidential election.



Below is an article published by Somaliland Globe:


International development agency Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at UCL and Somaliland Focus (UK) today express our disappointment and concern at the recent Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC) announcement that Somaliland’s long-delayed presidential election has now been indefinitely postponed.

The three organisations, along with FOPAG (Forum for Peace and Governance) in Somaliland, were invited in January this year by the NEC to act as coordinators of the international observation mission for presidential elections in the internationally-unrecognised Republic of Somaliland. A unilateral announcement that elections would proceed followed by threats of an opposition boycott led to a deteriorating situation and the prospect of what would effectively have been a one-party poll on 27 September. This had already caused us to reconsider our plans for an observation mission, although we hoped that the situation could have been resolved to set Somaliland’s democratisation process back on track.

Instead, the situation has become worse. With the extended term of President Rayaale due to expire on 29 October (a signed agreement by all three political parties agreed that there would be no further extension) and no constitutional cover to deal with this unprecedented situation, we have real fears for democracy and stability in Somaliland. Since the announcement, there has been violence on the streets of Hargeisa, resulting in the deaths of three Somaliland citizens, injuries to others and leading to the arrest of journalists.

Somaliland has a long history of dialogue and consensus-building and has been characterised by many as a beacon of democratisation in Africa in contrast to the chaos in Somalia. We therefore urge that all stakeholders come together to solve this impasse, to ensure that a process can be put in place for a legitimate poll, with as little delay as possible, but with genuine commitment from all players and a realistic approach to the time needed to ensure a smooth and proper political process.