British Office Hargeisa
16 SEPTEMBER 2016
SUBJECT: SOMALILAND PARLIAMENTARY AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
The International Community expresses serious concern over the President of Somaliland’s decision to delay Somaliland’s Parliamentary March 2017 elections. This unnecessary delay will harm public and international confidence in Somaliland’s democratisation process and will have implications for the international community engagement with Somaliland. The postponement has been announced without a clear legal or constitutional basis and despite the Chief Justice’s ruling that the Presidential and Parliamentary elections should take place jointly, in March. The people of Somaliland have queued in record numbers to register to vote in both elections, and have a legitimate expectation that they will be allowed to exercise this vote.
The International Community has provided substantial support to this electoral process on the basis of Somaliland’s commitments to timely, concurrent Presidential and Parliamentary elections. The imminent and successful completion of the voter registration process determines a clear timeline for the polls in March 2017, which we cannot afford to change. Donors have invested heavily in the electoral preparation and do not want to see this commitment undermined and depleted by continuous delays. The International Community will not be able to fund the additional costs that the decision to delay the Parliamentary elections will incur, the burden of which will therefore regrettably fall on the Somaliland people.
The International Community agrees that Somaliland reconciliation is an important objective. We call on the President to urgently set out a clear process, with timelines, to achieve a fair seat allocation formula and political representation for all Somalilanders in the election of their Parliament. We reiterate that fixed term Parliamentary elections now would still enable both reforms in the parliamentary seat allocation and a reconciliation process to take place during the Parliamentary term. We therefore urge the President of Somaliland to reconsider his decision, and to hold the Presidential and Parliamentary elections together in March 2017.
ON BEHALF OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY [US, UK, EU, UN, SWEDEN, DENMARK] AND THE SOMALILAND ELECTIONS DONOR WORKING GROUP