Somaliland's ruling party 'rejects' opposition alliance after resounding defeat in polls

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HARGEISA, Somaliland - Somaliland's Kulmiye party has opposed the proposed alliance between opposition outfits Waddani and UCID parties, which registered a major victory in the recently concluded polls, that attracted observers from across Africa and around the world.

The autonomous region of Somaliland conducted the elections at the backdrop of calls to reunite with Somalia following years of fallout, but it has never looked back in its quest for statehood. The region has a functional government parallel to that in Mogadishu.

Abdinasir Buuni, who is the spokesperson of the Kulmiye party, said UCID and Waddani bypassed the process to race for parliament leadership, having suggested plans to team up and elect the speaker of the House and mayors of different towns in the region.

The suggested alliance of the two opposition parties came after neither party received a majority of 42 seats for the control of Somaliland parliament and win the post of speaker. The house has 82 seats and the entire opposition managed 52 seats in total.

Two opposition parties in Somalia's breakaway Somaliland region won a majority of seats in the region's first parliamentary election in 16 years, the National Electoral Commission said on Sunday.

Out of parliament's 82 seats, WADDANI won 31, and the Justice and Welfare Party [UCID], won 21 seats. The ruling Unity and Development Party, Kulmiye, secured 30 seats, the electoral commission said.

The vote had been stalled for a decade by a dispute among the three major parties over the makeup of the electoral commission, which was finally resolved.

"Following the announcement of the election results, we have announced a political alliance to get the speaker of the Somaliland parliament," WADDANI and UCID said in a joint statement, suggesting they would appoint a speaker together.

The parties, which combined also won the majority of the seats in municipal races, said that they aim to collaborate on city councils across the region and select mayors together.

The former Kulmiye Central Committee chairman Jama Shabeel accused President Muse Bihi Abdi of being responsible for the shock Somaliland parliamentary election defeat. His statement came as Kulmiye struggled to reconcile with the losses.

He supported the decision of the opposition parties - UCID and WADDANI to form a coalition to take control of the House. The opposition teams have already met ahead of merger plans that would see them control House of the People and many local authorities.

Next year, the Kulmiye party will be facing stiff competition in presidential polls with opposition leader Abdirahman Irro, the chairman of the Waddani party being at pole position to succeed Muse Bihi Abdi. Over one million people registered in the exercise that saw the world hail Somaliland's internal democracy.

GAROWE ONLINE

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