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Somaliland, for 5th time postpones parliamentary elections

Storyline:National News

Somaliland has for the fifth time postponed parliamentary and local government elections giving parliament over 12 years free reign without elections.

Somaliland Electoral Commission (SNEC) said Wednesday the March 27, 2019 elections now remain postponed but did not indicate a new date.

SNEC chairman Abdikadir Iimaan Warsame told the media in Hargeisa the polls body was forced to adjust the dates following time constraints and pressure from the opposition.

Warsame said SNEC needed ten months to prepare for the elections noting the remaining time would not be sufficient to prepare for and conduct the elections. He also said the opposition party Waddani had cast doubt over the voter registration process.

The new development is likely to elicit sharp reactions from the international community which last year chided Somaliland for postponing the presidential poll citing need to respond to the drought.

In a joint statement January 1, 2017, the EU, US and other western countries said they were disappointed by the move to postpone the elections to October.

“As international partners made clear this week in Hargeisa, the drought should not be used as an excuse for putting the democratic process in Somaliland on hold. International partners are seriously disappointed by the decision by the President, the political parties and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to postpone the presidential elections from 28 March to 10 October 2017.

The international community also raised concerns over the decision to combine the parliamentary and local elections and put forward to March. Presidential elections were later held in November 2017.

The current parliament came to office 2005 with elections expected at the end of the five year term slated for October 30, 2010. However the exercise was put off to June 30, 2013. As the June deadline came closer, the break-away region announced a new date- February 27, 2015 which again came and went.

Presidential polls were then set for March 28, 2017 and later to October 27, 2017 parliament, under international pressure settled for November 13, 2017 and announced Parliamentary and local elections would be conducted in March 27, 2019.