Somaliland: Somalilanders Vote This Saturday!
Below is an article published by VOANews.com
The foreign minister of Somaliland says the country has a good track record of organizing credible successive elections devoid of violence and voter irregularities that meet international standards.
Abdullahi Mohammed Du’Ale said the electoral commission has concluded preparations ahead of Saturday’s vote.
“The nation is very excited (and) the campaign(s) have been very civil and we have demonstrated that we are a state that can handle and demonstrate what democracy is… and we are hoping that all will go very well on June the 26th and we are looking forward to it,” he said.
Official campaigning ended Wednesday ahead of the election which begins June 26th across the country. The vote coincides with Somaliland’s independence from colonial power Britain in 1960.
Foreign minister Du’Ale said the elections will be credible.
“We have demonstrated that we are a credible state and that we have what it takes. We are a state that has relations with the international community and with the (Horn of Africa) region. And, we have put forth credible elections which have been characterized by the international community and the international press as free and fair,” Du’Ale said.
Several international poll observer groups have reportedly arrived to monitor the elections.
Opposition groups have accused the ruling party of not granting them equal access to the state-controlled media, which, they said hampered their campaign – a charge the government denies.
Meanwhile, Somalia’s hard-line insurgent group, al-Shabab has threatened to violently disrupt the elections after saying that Somaliland’s democratic efforts are fundamentally opposed to the teachings of Islam.
But foreign minister Du’Ale said the government will not allow what he called disruptive terrorists to hold hostage the people of Somaliland who he said have the right to choose their leaders in an election.
“This is sheer hogwash as far as we are concerned (because) this is a nation that works under the rule of law. Our constitution, accordingly is compatible and the basics of it rely on Islamic values and the Islamic culture…We have demonstrated that it is very difficult for these elements to operate in Somaliland,” Du’Ale said.
Partly sponsored by the United States, the European Union and other international organizations, Saturday’s vote is expected to be hotly contested between President Daahir Riyaale Kaahin’s ruling United Peoples Democratic Party (UDUB), and the two major opposition including Party for Justice and Development (UCID) as well as the Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye) party.