afrol News, 14 April - The National Electoral Commission in the breakaway republic of Somaliland finally is ready to organise the country's second presidential elections in June this year, two years late.
According to a brief news release by the government in Hargeisa, Somaliland's National Electoral Commission has presided over a meeting with the countries political parties, agreeing on the last details for holding the twice postponed presidential elections.
During the meeting, Somalilander political parties signed the code of conduct for the upcoming presidential election. Representatives from President Dahir Riyale Kahin's ruling UDUB party agreed with the main opposition party Kulmiye and other opposition parties.
The electoral commission presided the meeting that slated the presidential elections to be held in June 2010 "after registration of voters list is completed and new voter identification cards are issued," according to the government release.
Somaliland organised its first presidential elections in April 2003. The poll, which was deemed both free and fair by international observers, ended in one of the closest poll races ever seen in Africa. President Riyale won the wote with 42.08 percent of the poll, followed by Kulmiye's candidate receiving 42.07 percent of votes.
President Riyale's term ended in 2008, but as the electoral commission was not able to organise a nation-wide poll at that state, the Hargeisa parliament agreed to exend his term by one year. Last year, parties agreed to organise elections in September, but again the term of President Riyale had to e extended because voter lists were not ready.
Now, however, the under-funded National Electoral Commission has announced it is close to finishing the electoral preparations. It has established an electronic voter registration system and has started issuing voting registration cards to citizens.
Somaliland - comprising of former British Somaliland - broke away from Somalia - or former Italian Somaliland - as Somalia collapsed into conflict in 1991. While the conflict still goes on in Somalia, Somaliland has managed to established the only functioning democracy on the African Horn, successfully upholding peace and stability and introducing its own currency and legislation.
The government of Somaliland however never has achieved international recognition, despite a growing Western desire to establish formal ties. This also means that Somaliland is not eligible for international funding and development aid - a fact contributing to the electoral commission's long delay in getting a voter registration system in place.
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