What to Watch for in Somaliland’s Concurrent Elections

Hargeisa (PP News Desk) — Delayed Somaliland local and parliamentary elections are taking place today. Waddani, an opposition party, has for the first time a better chance to send MPs to Somaliland Parliament. Founded in 2012, it is party whose fortunes were affected by its latecomer status compared to Kulmiye, the ruling party, and UCID. Kulmiye and UCID participated in the 2005 local and parliamentary elections.

Waddani garnered 40 percent of votes cast during 2017 presidential elections. Assuming that Waddani wins more than 51% of parliamentary seats, a constitutional crisis might grip the executive branch of Somaliland. Muse Bihi, the incumbent President, seeks to bolster his mandate by trying to win parliamentary seats commensurate with the 55.1% of the vote his party received in 2017. The concurrent elections keep Kulmiye strategists awake at night.

UCID Chairman Faisal A. Warabe (left), President Muse Bihi (middle) and Abdirahman Abdullahi, Waddani Chairman.

Waddani is campaigning on a reformist agenda. In 2017 more than 20% of the votes it won had come from diverse constituencies. Kulmiye wished it had reversed the decision to hold presidential and parliamentary elections separately: the 2017 presidential elections would deny Waddani the opportunity to try to win a majority of parliamentary seats.

“UCID is a mere sideshow that aims to undercut Waddani’s chances to become the party with the largest number of MPs” said Da’ud Ahmed, a political analyst in Hargeisa.

That Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, the Waddani Chairman, was a Somaliland parliamentary speaker on a UCID ticket does not help.

Waddani has fielded Barkhad Jama Batun, the party spokesman, to represent the pro-change face of party. He is widely supported by Somaliland’s labourers. Hargeisa cobblers association last week made a donation to Waddani to show solidarity with a party that seeks to redefine Somaliland politics twenty years after the Somaliland introduced a hybrid, multiparty system.

At a Burco event to commemorate the thirty third anniversary of the civil war in the North Ahmed Mire, a former senior Somali National Movement commander, contrasted Somaliland political system with Puntland State’s approach to instituting a rudimentary political order. “Theirs is more reasonable than the political system we have here in Somaliland; ours is neither tribal nor democratic” Mire said.

To some it is a sober judgement that reflects the need for a new generation of political leaders who understands the inadequacies in the hybrid political system of Somaliland.

© Puntland Post, 2021