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Friday, January 13, 2017

Somaliland elections cannot be delayed on any pretext, diplomats warn

(AllEastAfrica) HARGEISA – The international community warned leaders of the breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somaliland against any further delays in holding presidential elections amid severe droughts in the region which officials said may scrap their initial plans to hold timely presidential elections.




According to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Coordination (OCHA), the acute drought that has affected more than 240,000 people (40,000 Households) due to the shortfall of the Gu (April-June) rains in 2014 and 2015. The most affected regions include Awdal, Maroodijeh, and Gebiley, which are traditionally the main food producing regions.

Delivering their message on behalf of the international community, the two diplomats from UK and Denmark who held talks with leaders from the opposition parties and the ruling party in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital said that patience was wearing thin of international partners and that any attempts to get the election delayed beyond March 28 would strain relations between Somaliland and the international community, according to officials who attended the meeting on Thursday.

Somaliland which had declared a unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 heavily relies on foreign aid to run its separate government, army and currency.

For years, the enclave with broke away from Somalia 25 years ago has been battling for an international recognition. However, no country has so far recognized it as an independent nation.

In recent months, Somaliland leaders have been pushing new plans aimed at delaying the presidential for further six months with the intention of reaching drought-hit areas with aid, a proposal dismissed by the two visiting diplomats from the international community who reiterated that elections cannot be delayed on any ‘grounds’.

The two diplomats have instead proposed a another plan to reach drought-stricken families, pledging $10 million dollars in emergency assistance from the international community to combat the devastating effects of the drought brought on by the El Nino climate phenomenon in Somaliland.

No comment could be reached from Somaliland official on the development which may prompt them to come up with a new political plan to hold timely the presidential elections in line with the international community’s suggestions.

The development comes amid concerns raised by Somaliland’s main opposition parties that accused the government of president Ahmed Silanyo of seeking a new ‘unconstitutional’ term extension under pretext of the emergency drought in the region.