Somaliland election free and fair: observers
HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — Observers said Monday the weekend presidential poll in the breakaway Somali republic of Somaliland was largely free and fair and turnout high despite threats from Islamists.
“Overall, the election seems to have met conditions for a free and fair expression of the popular will of Somalilanders,” said Progressio, the University College of London’s development planning unit, and Somaliland Focus (UK).
The observer bodies praised in a statement a high voter turnout on Saturday in many areas of Somaliland “despite threats from Islamist militant groups to disrupt the process, which thankfully came to nothing”.
They also raised concerns, however, citing “reported misuse of public resources, including vehicles, the time of civil servants and national public media by the incumbent party”.
They also noted “sustained attempts at underage voting and systematic distribution of voter ID cards by unauthorised agents”, the statement said, adding officials from the electoral commission took steps to stop those abuses.
The observer mission said it “looks forward to a speedy and clear result in the election that is accepted by all parties”.
“Notwithstanding the concerns outlined above, we express our confidence that the election process to date is likely to result in a free and fair expression of the popular will.”
Electoral commission chief Isse Yusuf Mohamud said meanwhile there had not so far been any official complaint from any of the political parties.
“The counting process continues and results will be announced during the week,” he said.
President Dahir Riyale Kahin ran against two opposition candidates: Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo, whose Kulmiye party is the largest parliamentary bloc, and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare party.
Somaliland, which is more tribally homogenous than the rest of Somalia, has been striving for international recognition since it broke away in 1991.