Hargeisa- In response to the international partners to Somaliland who expressed deep disappointment over postponement of elections, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saad Ali Shire, said the delay was necessitated by practical reasons and asked the international partners "to understand the truly exceptional circumstance which have led to the decision to delay the elections,"
In a statement, the Minister said the delay has been agreed by all the political parties because of the severity of the situation. "The prospect of famine hangs over our country,” he said.
Recently, the politicians agreed to push back the presidential election which was planned to be conducted in 28th March 2017. The parliamentary and local government elections are also postponed to 2018.
In a joint statement, 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".
"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 international community said in its statement.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs said "the president and government did not want to delay the elections and had spent considerable resources (9 million US Dollars already, with a further 4 million US dollars allocated in the current budget) to ensure they take place in time. They reluctantly did so as a necessary response to a natural calamity.”
"This delay should no way call into question our democratic credentials. The delay is purely practical reasons,” the Minister argued.
"We understand and share the concerns of our partners in the international community. We recognise the desirability of renewing the political mandate of our representatives and are disappointed that Parliament has overstated its mandate. However, we wish to reassure our friends that we are as committed as ever to democracy,” he added.
"We asks the international community to understand the truly exceptional circumstance which have led to the decision to delay the elections, are reiterate our tanks for the development and humanitarian assistance which it has provided. We hope that our donor partners will continue to support our democratic process and development projects which we believe will bring peace and greater prosperity to our troubled region,” The Minister’s statement emphasised.
About the author
Jama Ahmed Jama is the Editor-in-Chief of Somaliland Daily