Hargeisa- The international partners to Somaliland expressed deep disappointment over postponement of elections. In a statement released today by Denmark, EU Delegation, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America said "the drought should not be used as an excuse for putting the democratic process in Somaliland on hold".
In yesterday, the three political parties, the president and the National Electoral Commission agreed to hold the presidential election on 10th October 2017. Recently, the politicians agreed to push back the presidential election which was planned to be conducted in 28th March 2017.
"International partners to Somaliland express their strongest sympathies with the Somaliland people affected by the drought experienced at the moment across Somaliland. Donors have made and will continue to make significant contributions to address the humanitarian consequences of the drought and are following the situation closely and with great concern,” the statement says.
The international partners provide financial and technical support to the electoral process of Somaliland.
They showed their deep anger over the normalization of extensions of terms of elected leaders. The House of Representatives elected in 2005 in five years term is still in power.
"The announcement to combine the local elections with the parliamentary elections on 10 October 2018 delaying the local elections by almost a year, only adds to the concern that Somalilanders have a lower house which has been sitting for 12 years,” the statement adds.
The delay will harm the international confidence in Somaliland’s democratization process, the statement reads.
"While the commitment of international partners to support a positive development trajectory for the Somaliland people stands intact, this most recent announcement of further delays forces international partners to consider the implications for our engagement and the way we work with the Somaliland government. The international partners have provided substantial support to the electoral processes on the basis of Somaliland’s commitments to timely Presidential, Parliamentary and Local elections,” the statement emphasizes.
The international community says in their statement that their "taxpayers’ money is now gravely at risk of being lost. International partners will not cover any additional costs that a delay of elections will incur”.
Somaliland has been seeking international recognition since it declared independence in 1991. Upsetting the international community will harm its quest of recognition.
"Somaliland's reputation and credibility will suffer another severe blow from this decision. Somaliland stands at risk of losing the international attention it has enjoyed until now from committed international partners by virtue of its status as a budding democracy,” the donor statement says.
The donors "urge the Somaliland government, political parties and the NEC to reconsider the recent announcement and prepare for the presidential elections to take place in the first half of 2017 and conduct the local elections on time in 2017; and it calls on the Constitutional Court and the Guurti to reconsider the decision. The international partners also call on the government to prepare and conduct parliamentary elections without further delay this year, including the development and implementation of a realistic plan for a revised seat allocation in the parliament”.
The statement concludes "a derailed political transition will inevitably compromise the international community´s ability and willingness to engage with Somaliland’s authorities. We appeal to all stakeholders to make every effort to protect Somaliland’s democratic credentials”.
About the author
Jama Ahmed Jama is the Editor-in-Chief of Somaliland Daily