First Published: 2017-11-13

Somaliland votes for new president
Three candidates are running for breakaway state's top office as Somaliland hopes to prove its democratic credentials.
Middle East Online

In 1991, after years of bitter war with the government in Mogadishu, Somaliland declared independence from the rest of Somalia

MOGADISHU - Residents of the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland voted Monday in its third presidential poll, hoping to prove its democratic credentials and strengthen the case for independence from troubled Somalia.

The northern territory, which is more tribally homogenous and stable than the rest of Somalia, broke away in 1991 and has been striving to attain international recognition ever since.

Three candidates are running for the state's top office, seasoned politicians Muse Bihi of the ruling Kulmiye party and opposition candidates Abdirahman Iro and Faysal Ali Warabe, who was defeated in previous elections in 2010.

"The procedure started peacefully this morning and we are confident that this election is going to be a milestone for the entire region," said Iro as he voted.

Elections are meant to be held every five years, however the poll was delayed for two years due to drought and other technical issues.

Incumbent Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo is not seeking re-election.

Somaliland's history of peaceful, credible elections and democratic transition sets it apart from anarchic southern Somalia, and indeed much of east Africa.

Somalia's election earlier this year saw a president chosen via a limited electoral process that saw handpicked clan elders choosing delegates who were allowed to vote.

- Debates and eye scanners -

Ahead of the Somaliland election, the three main candidates held a televised debate to present their political agendas, focusing on the economy, jobs and international recognition.

"This is a very critical election ... for the youth, they need a leader who can develop the economy and bring jobs so that everybody can stay their country to enjoy their lives," said university student Ismail Mohamed.

The vote is set to be the most sophisticated yet with some 700,000 voters registered using biometric eye scanners which will identify them before they cast their ballots.

A decision by authorities to shut all social media when polling stations close at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) was criticised by Human Rights Watch last week.

Said Ali Muse, spokesman for the national electoral commission, said the move was necessary to prevent interference from outside the borders of the semi-autonomous state and speculation over results.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, won independence in 1960 but days later joined with Somalia. In 1991, after years of bitter war with the government in Mogadishu, it declared independence from the rest of the country.

 

Saudi finalises drone regulation after security alarm

Israel rubbishes claims Mossad behind Malaysia assassination

Iran vows to resume enrichment if US quits nuclear deal

Mass grave discovered under Raqa football pitch

Can Arab satellite TV catch up with social media?

UAE accuses Qatari jets of ‘chasing’ passenger flight

Syrian refugees are not going home anytime soon

Resumption of direct flights from Moscow brings hope to Egypt’s tourism sector

Will Lebanon have more women MPs after May 6 poll?

Saudi shoots down ‘toy drone’

UN Security Council meets over Syria in Sweden

Turkish government rejects criticism of election campaign

Condemnation after Gaza teenager killed by Israeli soldiers

Syrian rebels agree to leave new area outside Damascus

Rouhani slams officials' 'vow of silence' in face of protests

Family accuses Israel of killing Palestinian in Malaysia

Natalie Portman says backed out of Israel prize over Netanyahu

Morocco, EU start talks on new fisheries deal

FIFA to return to Morocco to check hotels, stadiums

Turkey in shock after violent Istanbul derby

Iraq pays first war reparations to Kuwait since 2014

Fiery kites adopted as new tactic by Gaza protesters

Romanian president slams plan to move Israel embassy

Western strikes on Syria bring no change whatsoever

Trump criticises OPEC for high oil prices

Syria says rebels south of capital surrender

Market has capacity to absorb higher oil prices: Saudi minister

Putin 'ready' for Trump summit

Saudi Arabia to host first public film screening

HRW criticises Lebanon for evicting Syria refugees

Saudi says intercepted ballistic missile from Yemen

Russia mulls supplying S-300 missile systems to Syria

US has 'concerns' about Turkey holding fair vote under state of emergency

Bashir fires Sudan foreign minister

Washington: Assad still has 'limited' chemical capability

European MPs urge US not to scrap Iran deal

Oil price soars to highest level in years

Two more pro-Kurdish MPs stripped of Turkey seats

Oil theft 'costing Libya over $750 million annually'

Turkey's snap polls: bold gambit or checkmate for Erdogan?

Iran arrests senior official over public concert

Bahrain sentences 24 to jail, strips citizenship

UN experts urge Iran to cancel Kurd's death sentence

Moderate quake strikes near Iran nuclear power plant

Syria regime forces caught in surprise IS attack