Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Somaliland holds peaceful presidential election

Somaliland to shut down social networks during election period Breakaway Somaliland Holds Elections as Mogadishu Battles Terror
Hannah Rogers | 14 November, 2017, 12:48

All three presidential candidates, Musa Bihi Abdi (Kulmiye), Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Irro (Waddani), and Faisal Ali Waraabe (UCID), casted their ballots at the historical Hargeisa Exhibition Hall (Guriga Shaqaalaha).

The worldwide election observation mission (EOM), which has been invited by Somaliland's National Electoral Commission (NEC), said it will conduct its observation activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for global Election Observation, emphasizing the impartiality and independence of that observation.

Incumbent Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo is not seeking re-election.

More than 700,000 registered voters are expected to cast their votes at more than 1,600 polling stations across Somaliland amid tight security in the peaceful enclave.

Authorities will block social media from when polls close at 6 p.m. until the victor is announced at an unspecified time, Information Minister Osman Abdilahi Sahardeed said by phone from Hargeisa, the main city.

The commission also shutdown all social media networks, an act which human rights organizations criticized. This made Hargeisa friendlier to those using their feet to reach polling stations.

"It is not only the election itself and the leader but the process and the fairness, the global community is looking at us and if we are smart enough, we will vote smoothly to show we are a democracy", he said. The vote in the former British protectorate, which cut ties with the wider Horn of Africa country in 1991 amid a civil war, was initially scheduled for 2015 but delayed because of drought, garnering criticism from nations including the U.S.

In 1991, after years of bitter war with the government in Mogadishu, it declared independence from the rest of the country, and has long hoped for global recognition.

While anarchic southern Somalia has been riven by years of fighting between multiple militia forces and Islamist violence, Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace.

Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Somaliland has blocked social media to prevent the spread of rumours as the counting of votes begins to decide the region's fifth president, AP reports.

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