Observers Commend Somaliland's Elections

Published on Wednesday 30th June 2010

A group of international observers says the recent concluded presidential election in Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland was free and fair.

The group told reporters in Hargeisa that campaigns and polling were conducted in a peaceful and democratic manner dispute some irregularities such as misuse of public resources during the campaigns.

"Despite some irregularities, the election process was fair, free and expressed the will of the people. We are looking to a speedy and clear result that is accepted by all the parties," said British observer Conrad Heine.

On their part, U.S.-based group International Republican Institute (IRI) said the vote was peaceful, without major incident and generally met international standards.

"Election Day is only one part of a larger and longer four part process, which includes the pre-election environment, pre-election administration, Election Day voting, and vote counting and post-election adjudication resulting in acceptance of legitimate results," it said in a statement.

It noted that its observers have witnessed sporadic irregularities including "what were believed to be instances of voting by those younger than 16, the legal age of voting".

The group cautions the political parties and Somalilanders to wait for the final results to be released before conclusions are made regarding the election process.

Official results are not due for another week but Somaliland's National Election Commission (NEC) says a winner is expected to emerge with partial results over the next few days with votes counting almost finishing.

The incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin of UDUB party is facing a stiff opposition from Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo, the leader of Kulmiye party, which has the largest parliamentary seats and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare party (UCID).

Instances of skirmishes were reported in the disputed northern Somali regions of Sool and Sanag during the elections. At least five people, mostly Somaliland election officials were killed in fighting between security guards and residents of disputed regions, which Puntland state and Somaliland both laid claim on them.


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