Food crisis not an excuse for delayed poll, foreign envoys warn Somaliland

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The international community has strongly expressed reservations against the move to further delay the elections in Somaliland noting the drought which has ravaged most parts of the break away region should not be an excuse to delay the poll.

In a joint statement, foreign envoys from the EU and US said delaying the elections does not only contradict the August 15, 2015 Supreme Court decision against any delays but also ‘inevitably harms public and international confidence in Somaliland’s democratization process.

“As international partners made clear this week in Hargeisa, the drought should not be used as an excuse for putting the democratic process in Somaliland on hold,” the statement read in part.

Somaliland issued a statement last week in which the opposition parties endorsed to delay the Presidential poll which was slated for March 28 to October 2017. This is adds two years to President Ahmed Silanyo’s stay in power beyond the constitutionally sanctioned timelines.

Somaliland said it had decided to put off the elections so as to marshal efforts to deal with the drought which has now claimed several lives and rendered thousands food insecure.

Presidential elections were supposed to be held in 2015. Similarly, the National Electoral Commission announced it was putting off parliamentary elections to October 10, 2018. This, the NEC argued would ensure parliamentary and local government elections are held at the same time.

Somaliland’s parliament is now sitting for the 12th year running without elections following multiple delays.

The envoys called on Somaliland to reconsider its position and prepare elections in the first half of the year failure to which its credibility would be dented and risks international seclusion.

“Somaliland’s reputation and credibility will suffer another severe blow from this decision. Somaliland stands at risk of losing the international attention it has enjoyed until now from committed international partners by virtue of its status as a budding democracy,” the envoys observed.

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