Nov 01, 2012

Somaliland: Local Council Campaigns For Upcoming Elections

On 29 October seven political parties registered for the local council elections set for 28 November

Below is an article published by SABAHI:

Somaliland's National Electoral Commission (NEC) said last Thursday [1 November 2012] that the campaigns would continue for four weeks, with election day set for November 28th.

Two existing political parties -- UCID (the Justice and Welfare party) and Kulmiye -- are campaigning against five newcomers: Umadda, Dalsan, Rays, Wadani and Haqsoor. The existing United Peoples' Democratic Party is not participating in the election and Nasiye, a new party, withdrew in September for lack of funding.

"Each party will have a day in the week that it can exclusively campaign in [Somaliland], and the campaign will last for four weeks," NEC spokesperson Mohamed Ahmed Hirsi Gelleh told Sabahi.

According to the law, the three parties with the most votes will be legally recognised and allowed to take part in elections for the next ten years.

The November election, the fifth direct vote to take place in towns across Somaliland since 2002, will also be the second municipal council election.

The NEC has selected a 19-member board to oversee and safeguard the integrity of the election campaign, Gelleh said.

"The parties have to follow the rules of the board and safeguard the peace," he said.

Supporters of the Umadda political party have been demonstrating in major cities across Somaliland, such as Hargeisa, Burao, Erigabo, Borama and Berbera, chairman of the party Mohamed Abdi Gabose said.

"These demonstrations are part of our election campaign strategy," he said in an address to thousands of supporters at a rally held Monday at the Freedom Garden in Hargeisa.

He said if Umadda succeeds in becoming one of the three parties that prevail, he will fight corruption and injustice and improve the governance system in Somaliland.

Hargeisa-based lawyer Said Ali said parties are required to follow the election campaign regulations to prevent conflicts from arising.

"It is also important that they distance themselves from defaming other parties and candidates, and to only speak of their own political agenda," Ali told Sabahi.

Each party has to stick to its assigned day and the venues selected by the government to hold their campaign rallies, he said.

"Safeguarding peace at the present time is important to Somaliland, in light of the regional situation," Ali said.

City mayors and regional administrations have been instructed to allow competing parties equal access to venues to present their campaigns, according to the Somaliland Minister of Interior Mohamed Nur Arrale.

"Peace is in everyone's interest and ensuring it is a collective responsibility," Arrale said in a televised address October 28th [2012].

"Security agencies will take a firm stand against anyone suspected of actions that disrupt the peace while the campaign is under way," he said.