As we draw closer to the scheduled Somaliland Presidential Election on 13 November 2017, the political climate is, naturally, becoming heightened, with statements issued by many individuals and groups on a daily basis through online and offline media. As an Election Observation Mission, we are always concerned about claims that pertain to the Mission. While the claims we have seen are without foundation, and in several cases completely absurd, it is important that we maintain both the appearance and the reality of absolute impartiality. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to include only international observers who are unrelated to Somali descendants. None of those who were on our list as international observers have done anything to warrant such a decision: this step is solely designed to underline the complete and apparent impartiality of the international Election Observation Mission. It is regrettable that a decision such as this is forced upon us by the irresponsible public statements of those who should know better, but we remain completely committed to the integrity of the Mission, and to that of the Somaliland elections themselves. In that pursuit, we continue to work closely with the Somaliland National Electoral Commission and other partners.