Somalia: Somaliland postpones presidential election, raising political tension


HARGEISA, Somalia - The people of Somaliland, the breakaway region in northern Somalia, will after all not vote for their favorite presidential candidate, it has now emerged, with the electoral commission confirming the worst fears on Saturday, a move which could trigger political tensions.

Already, the opposition parties have been pushing the government to obey the laws while accusing President Muse Bihi Abdi of frustrating the process for his own political gains, a move which activated chaos in the streets of Hargeisa, the region's administrative capital.

The Somaliland Electoral Commission on Saturday confirmed that it was not in a position to hold presidential elections, citing financial and technical issues. Initially, the commission had scheduled November 13 as the date for the presidential election.

Despite the latest setback, the commission said they will be able to hold the elections in nine months, almost a one-year delay. The opposition team led by Wadani and UCID parties responded to the quagmire and said they will protest the move.

Abdirahman Irro, the leader of the Waddani party and presidential candidate had recently hailed the decision by the Lower House to approve the political parties Bill which was due to be affirmed by the Upper House usually called Guurti, or the house of elders.

"I do express my appreciation and gratitude to the Honorable MPs of SL's House of Representatives for approving today's amendments to Law No. 14/2011 and Law No. 91/2020 to save the country from both constitutional and political crises," he had said.

"By holding presidential elections and elections for political associations and political parties on the same day. The Somaliland public has already expressed support for the combined election, and the House of Elders [Guurti] is expected to follow suit, " he added.

Last year, the opposition floored the Kulmiye party in the parliamentary elections, bagging 52 of the available 82 seats. The ruling party which secured only 30 seats, has been strategizing on how to bounce back, but there is a general feeling that it will lose more grounds.

Muse Bihi Abdi has been in charge of the state since 2017 and he was accused of failing in the fighting for international recognization but is yet to be recognized by the international community.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaking to the Somali community in the US recently reiterated that his government will not accept any means that allow the region to secede from Somalia.


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