In a statement concurrently released by the offices of the Presidency (Sept. 18) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Somaliland (Sept. 17) ample justification was, again, given of why the President thought it imperative not to hold presidential and parliamentary elections concurrently.
The statement cited, while gracefully conceding some of the concerns of the international community, that to hold elections at this juncture of time was not feasible not only because the ‘current parliamentary seat allocation formula’ was not acceptable, but also to give space to on-going dialogue with some primary regions of Somaliland for a fuller inclusion in the country’s larger political process.
The official statement came a day after a written statement released by the UK government on behalf of the international community [US, UK, EU, UN, SWEDEN, and DENMARK] and the Somaliland Elections Donor Working Group was made public. The IC asked the President to reconsider his decision on separating the presidential and parliamentary elections, postponing the latter.
The statement put its argument in point form for easier digestion as transcribed below.
Somaliland Parliamentary and Presidential Elections
17 September 2016, Hargeisa
” 1. The President made a carefully considered, legitimate, and widely supported decision based on political, constitutional and technical grounds
2. The president decided to delay parliamentary elections after taking into consideration:
a. Part 1 and part 2 of Article 8, Article 22 and Article 90 of the constitution,
b. The decision of the Constitutional court of the Republic of #Somaliland concerning the election of the House of Representatives in 2005, according to which the allocation was meant for only one election, and subsequent allocations would be based on census
c. The concerns raised by Awdal, Sool, Sanaag and Maroodijeex regions as well as minorities and women about representation and allocation of seats in parliament
d. The decision of the political parties to delegate to and abide by the resolution of the president on the issue concerning the election of the House of Representatives
e. The reconciliation process under way in Sool and Sanaag regions
f. The need for inclusive, free and fair #elections
g. The time required to address the complex challenges surrounding each of the above
3. It is true that #parliament overstayed its term.
4. It is true that citizens should exercise their right to elect their representatives in parliament
5. It is true that the international community invested heavily in all the elections held in Somaliland, which we recognize and appreciate
6. That is not the issue; the issue is whether we want to have an election fixed on a target date preferred by the international community or whether we want to have an election that fits our circumstances which is fair, inclusive and legitimate.
7. The choice is obvious: we want to have the right election at the right time, not the right election at the wrong time.
8. Time is an important factor but not the most important in elections in our context
9. The most important factors are security, stability and unity based on fairness, and inclusive participation
10. The people of #Somaliland elected the president to represent them and make decisions on their behalf, including difficult ones and the president decided:
a. That we could not hold the next parliamentary election under the current seat allocation formula
b. To hold the presidential election on time in March 2017
c. To appoint a commission to work on a fairer and more equitable allocation formula
d. To delay parliamentary elections in accordance with established legal procedure, which requires the president to send a presidential proposition to parliament, which upon approval goes to the constitutional court and then to the House of Elders for consideration
11. Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held as planned with or without external assistance. But we do expect the international community to lend its support to both.
12. Somaliland enjoys today #peace and #stability in a #democratic political framework due to its consensus building tradition and ownership of its decisions which we hope the international community will continue to respect.”