HARGEISA, Somalia June 10 (Garowe Online) -
The ruling political party and two opposition parties in Somalia’s breakaway republic of Somaliland have signed a comprehensive agreement on the elections timetable, ending a months-long feud among party chiefs.
On Monday, negotiators from Somaliland’s ruling UDUB party, and the opposition Kulmiye and UCID parties, finalized a deal detailing the timetable for presidential elections.
A signing ceremony was held at Hotel Mansoor, in the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa, marking the moment the political parties ended a dispute over presidential elections that began in April.
Somaliland Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin signed the agreement on behalf of the government. On the opposition side, Kulmiye’s deputy chairman, Muse Bihi, and UCID Chairman Faisal Ali Warabe signed on behalf of their respective parties.
Mr. Mohamed Ismail, chairman of the Somaliland Election Commission, attended the ceremony as an observer along side honored guests.
The 8-point deal called for Somaliland’s presidential elections to be held on 6 April 2009, while postponing local council elections to a yet-unspecified date to be determined by the next administration.
The agreement indicated that the government cannot use public money to fund UDUB candidate and current President Dahir Riyale’s second run for office, while underscoring the fair use of state-owned media by all parties.
Also, according to the agreement, the upper house of Somaliland’s parliament (House of Guurti) is prohibited from amending any clauses in the signed agreement.
In April, the House of Guurti passed a motion extending the term of office for the Riyale government, whose five-year term ended on May 15.
Opposition leaders then rejected the Guurti’s decision and threatened to not recognize Mr. Riyale’s presidency, sparking a political crisis that has now found a resolution.
“This agreement is an indication that compromise is key in Somaliland politics,” Vice President Yasin told the crowd gathered at Hotel Mansoor.
Speaking for the dominant opposition party, Mr. Muse Bihi said the Kulmiye party allowed some concessions to the government after assessing the current situation in Somaliland, in terms of “peace and democracy.”
Mr. Bihi called on the Somaliland administration not to extend the president’s term again, while advising the current administration to lead Somaliland towards “free elections” when the time comes.
UCID Chairman Warabe appealed to donor nations to be “patient with Somaliland.” In May, donor countries announced that they will withhold millions of dollars intended to aid the voter registration process in Somaliland until the political crisis resolved.
Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.
Source: Garowe Online