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Date: 2020-08-15 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00000699

The 2005 Election

Somaliland: Interview with Mark Bradbury who observed the Somaliland election.

This article was written in 2005 ... and remains very relevant. It is rarely reported in the mainstream press that Somaliland has been quite peaceful for many years. Somaliland has broken away from Somalia which has remained in deep dysfunction for years, caused in some measure by the international community and their support for people in Somalia who seem not to represent the interests of the local people ... and eventually a catastrophic famine.
Peter Burgess

Tr-Ac-Net Development Dialog
Pulling together a lot of threads in the relief and development space


SOMALIA: Interview with Mark Bradbury, Somaliland poll observer

Subj: SOMALIA: Interview with Mark Bradbury, Somaliland poll observer
Date: 10/10/2005 9:40:52 AM Eastern Daylight Time

SOMALIA: Interview with Mark Bradbury, Somaliland poll observer
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARGEYSA, 10 October (IRIN) - Mark Bradbury, a social analyst whose speciality is the Horn of Africa, was one of the observers who monitored parliamentary elections in the self-declared republic of Somaliland on 29 September.

Somaliland broke away from the rest of Somalia following the collapse of the administration headed by Muhammad Siyad Barre in 1991. The territory is, however, not recognised internationally as a separate state.

Bradbury spoke to IRIN on 4 October about the elections. Below are excerpts from the interview:

Question: What are your views on the legislative electoral process?

Answer: In general I think the elections have been reasonably free, fair - there have not been major incidents that indicate the result will fall short of portraying the voters' will.

Q: Due to the dispute between Puntland and Somaliland over the control of the border region of Sool and Sanaag and the volatile situation in some areas, some people failed to vote. To what extent will this affect the outcome?

A: This was not the only election in which a large number of people in Sool and Sanaag did not vote. There was no great participation in the district (municipal) and the presidential election. There was a pragmatic decision taken by the electoral commission here not to hold elections in certain parts of those regions because of the threat of violence, which would have disrupted the polls generally.

So I think one can say on the one hand both Somaliland and Puntland have been very disciplined in the way they dealt with the elections. There haven't been any provocative moves, so it is a credit to both sides that no violence happened during the election day.

In terms of representation from those regions, there is a possibility that those regions will be less represented in the coming parliament than they were in the previous parliament. There is a possibility that people from these regions will feel more alienated as a consequence of lack of participation in the election.

Q: The electoral commission announced that the overall election results would be announced after two weeks. Can that delay lead to suspicion among voters and candidate?

A: Well I think [the commission] said it would take time for the overall results to come in. I think they anticipate having most of the results within four or five days and the final verdict, which would have to be announced by the Supreme Court, would take a couple of weeks.

Q: Is [the commission] competent enough to address election complaints and carry out independent investigations?

A: According to my experience in the previous two elections, they are competent and largely respected in the role. Although of course, they come under a lot of pressure from parties and their constituents. In the past they have proved that they are capable of negotiating their independence and of course the election monitoring board supports them in this role to some extent.

Q: Women were the majority of the voters during the legislative polls, but there were only seven women candidates out of 246. What does that say about democracy in Somaliland?

A: On the positive side it means that women are able to exercise their democratic rights. It is a step forward from the situation before, when men were nominated to the previous parliament on the basis of clan systems in which women virtually had no say at all.

The fact now is that they are able to exercise their democratic right. However, it is a disappointment that most people would recognise that parties were unable to forward more female candidates. The likelihood of female candidates being elected in the next parliament will be very slim. If that is the case, the issues they wanted to address through an institution like parliament would become harder to tackle.

Q: The shortcomings pinpointed by the observers during the election included attempts at double voting. Do you see registration of voters as a prerequisite for voting?

A: There has been recognition in Somaliland among sections of society, political parties included, that at some point there has to be some kind of registration of voters. But having said that - it's not unheard of that countries have elections without that [voters' registers]. Clearly, I have noticed there is a desire to see that happen here; they haven't found a way to do that yet. [ENDS]

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2005

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