Somaliland’s poll body says ready for presidential election on Monday

Somiland’s three contenders in the presidential debate. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi “Irro”, Musa Bihi Abdi, and Faysal Ali Warabe (left to right). Credit: Inspire Group.

National Electoral Commission (NEC) of the breakaway republic of Somalia’s Somaliland said on Saturday that it has finalized preparations for the presidential election on Monday.

NEC Chairperson Abdukadir Iman Warsame said the election will take place in 21 electoral districts with 1,642 polling stations, saying ballot boxes, papers and machines are ready.

“Election campaigns in Somaliland came to an end on Friday, we are ready for the presidential election on Monday, about 9,000 staff will be working for this election to guide, help voters and check them,” Warsame told a news conference.

Three parties will field presidential candidates — Muse Bihi Abdi of the ruling Kulmiye party, Faisal Ali Waraabe of the For Justice and Development party (UCID) and Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi of the Wadani party.

Both UCID and Kulmiye competed in the 2003 and 2010 presidential elections, but this is the first election for the Wadani Party, which secured the right to field a candidate based on its performance in the 2012 local elections. The current President, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud will not defend his seat.

The authorities have closed public and private schools across Somaliland, a former British protectorate, for eight days since most of them will serve as polling places.

The electoral body said Somalilanders will go to the polling stations at about 7 a.m, adding that 704,089 voters have been registered who will cast his or her ballot from the area registered.

Warsame said the election results will be announced after two or three days of voting, noting that the winner will be declared on either Nov. 18 or 19 if there would be not complaints.

He said the name of the winner will be submitted to Supreme Court which has ten days to confirm or annul the results of the winner.

All the three presidential contenders have pledged to pursue international recognition of Somaliland, improve education and tackle unemployment rates in the drought-prone state.

Analysts say whoever wins the Monday polls will inherit a fragile economy which is heavily dependent on livestock exports and remittances.

A resident in Borama town told Xinhua by phone that the presidential election campaigns ended in a peaceful manner.

“Now campaigns are off, we wish free and fair election happen in Somaliland, we hope to cast our votes on Monday,” said the resident who did not want to be named.

Somaliland which used to be a British colony has enjoyed relative peace for the past two decades as it declared independent from the rest Somalia in 1991 and now wants to be a separate country.