Somaliland: Preparations for Elections Started
Voter registration started in Somaliland in preparation for the forthcoming general elections to take place at the end of March 2009.
Below is an article written by Moha Dahir Farah Jire published by The Turkish Weekly:
Voter registrations have started in Somaliland in preparation for the upcoming general elections expected to take place at the end of March 2009. On Tuesday [21 October 2008] this week registrations of the voters started in the first region in Somaliland in the region of Sahil.
The voter registration in the region started after three months of planning in which people of all walks of life from Sahil region took part including the vice president (VP) of the republic Somaliland, Ahmed Yousuf Yasin, who led in the registration by being the first to register.
While registering VP Ahmed Yousuf Yasin encouraged the population to register and be documented and become part of the nation’s historical legacy.
He also told the youth who are aspiring to immigrate to the developed countries that it is necessary to be a registered citizen, and enjoy the right to vote after registration.
VP Ahmed Yousuf Yasin also the people to register and differentiate themselves from their brothers in Somalia who are still suffering from lack of peace and stability.
The speaker of the Somaliland’s elected parliament Mr. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdilahi too registered who has blood ties to the Sahil region and his affiliation with the Opposition party, UCID party. He stated that all the politicians, opposition and government, business people, youth, women and every else who reach the age of 16 should register him or herself and be proud to be registered for the first time in the nation’s history.
The people from Sahil region became emotional and avidly followed the process for registration, since they are the first region to be part of the registration process. When asked some did not get enough information on why people needed to be registered and had told SSI that they had initially thought that registration was not required to go and vote on election day.
Also present at the launch of the registration include invited guests from all the three political parties, representative form the lower and upper houses of parliament, international observers and local NGO’s who were following the registration process. the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Mohamed Ismail Kaboweine, in an exclusive interview with SSI said: “the work is going on in a proper manner as it was planned and once registration is concluded in the Sahil region registration of voters in other regions will start.
He reasoned that the Sahil region was chosen to be the first to test voter registration because of the fact that it is the smallest region and has a smaller population in relation to the other regions.
International observers and diplomats within the African diplomatic core mentioned at the occasion that documented Somaliland nations would get a better chance for consideration while applying for visas from Western embassies as previously problems were faced while trying to classify Somalis from Somalia and Somaliland and as a result Somaliland nationals would be refused visas because of the ensuing confusion.