Puntland's top electoral leaders quit months after democratic local election
GAROWE, Puntland - The Transition Puntland's Electoral Commission [TPEC] suffered a major blow on Sunday after two top leaders resigned from their positions without disclosing the reasons behind their dramatic exit.
Chairperson Guled Salah and his deputy Jamah Hirsi Farah quit their posts just weeks after they delivered the first-ever universal suffrage elections in three districts in the Puntland State of Somalia since its formation in 1998.
The commission held a trial one-person-one-vote electoral exercise in the state within the districts of Qardho, Eyl, and Ufeyn, which was the beginning of a long journey for democratization and multi-party electon in the Federal State.
The October 25 electoral exercise was perhaps the first-ever direct polls elections across the republic of Somalia save for the breakaway region of Somaliland. In May 2021, Somaliland held elections of Members of Parliament which saw the opposition carry the day.
In his lengthy resignation message, Salah said his decision to resign was triggered by "difficult conditions" adding that despite spirited fight to ensure democracy wins, "due to circumstances beyond my control, I can no longer continue in this role. It is a decision that I take with a heavy heart".
"Two years ago, I said that democratization would be a journey and process with enormous challenges. I am very grateful for the hard work, dedication, and integrity of TPEC members and the support they have given to my leadership," he noted.
"I also take this opportunity to thank the President, Vice president, the Speaker and other members of the government, political associations, CSOs, donors, and the public for their support. As a citizen, I continue to support and wish the process all the best."
Also, his deputy Jama Hirsi Farah also called it a day after serving a similar period citing personal reasons. The two were lauded in October 2021 for leading the direct polls in Puntland with stakeholders asking other states to follow suit.
Hours after their resignation, Puntland Electoral Commission elected new interim Chairman Abdirisak Ahmed following the resignation of Guled Salah. The new Chairman will be deputized by Ali Jama.