Somaliland presidential election, 2010
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A presidential election was held on 26 June 2010 in Somaliland, a self-declared sovereign state that is internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia. The election was originally scheduled for August 2008, but was marred by numerous delays, seriously endangering political stability in the territory. On 1 July 2010, the Somaliland National Election Commission announced that opposition candidate Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo had won the presidential election, defeating incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin.
The elections were originally scheduled for 31 August 2008, but the instability in the eastern Sanaag and Sool regions led the Guurti to extend the incumbent's term for a year in early April 2008, setting the election for 15 March 2009. This was heavily criticised by the opposition -- in the end, a compromise led to the date of 6 April 2009, which was later changed to one week before that (29 March). On 3 March, it was announced that the elections were postponed by two more months, to be held on 31 May. On 28 March, however, Somaliland's upper house, the Guurti, voted to delay the elections even more, by extending the current president's term to 29 September 2009. Peace, Unity, and Development Party (KULMIYE), Somaliland's main opposition party, stated it would not support the decision and would no longer recognize President Dahir Riyale Kahin's government after 6 April. Somaliland's other opposition party, For Justice and Development (UCID), has also denounced the upper house's decision as unconstitutional. President Dahir Riyale Kahin issued a decree setting 27 September as the new date for the elections. The date was proposed by Somaliland's electoral commission. A political crisis was unfolding in Somaliland due to the decision, but on 11 July 2009, all parties signed an electoral code of conduct, opening the way for elections in September.
On 6 September 2009, the electoral commission announced that the election could not be held on the day planned, 27 September, due to "current political, economic and technical conditions". A new date was not announced. President Dahir Riyale Kahin subsequently asked the Guurti for yet another term extension since it would expire on 29 September, but was denied this. On 28 September however, it was reported that on a second vote, the term extension was granted, provided that the government adheres to a six-point proposal to organise the next elections.
Somaliland politicians then expected the election to be held in January 2010 at the earliest. Later, April 2010 was mentioned, but it soon became clear this date would also be missed. The elections were then expected for June 2010, as the preparations for the elections were underway. The first ballot boxes for the election arrived from Denmark on 19 April, and new voter registration cards will be issued from the second week of May. Somaliland's electoral commission backed a June election on 28 April 2010, stating the voters list had been updated and now contains 1.1 million people. Biometric voting cards arrived at Egal International Airport on 5 May 2010, and will be distributed from 10 May on. On 15 May, president Dahir Riyale Kahin issued a decree setting the election date to 26 June, a date proposed by the Electoral Commission one day earlier.
Somaliland's National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced the final voters list for the election on 20 June 2010. The list contains 1,069,914 people, down from 1,375,660 that were on the list produced by the previous NEC. Numerous duplicate persons, children, and other flaws were removed.
After a two-year delay, voting for the presidential elections finally took place in late June 2010. A team of international observers led by Progressio, a UK-based development agency (formerly known as the Catholic Institute for International Relations) that has long been an advocate for independence movements, described the process as "free and fair".
The International Republican Institute asserted that "Somaliland’s election was peaceful, without major incident and generally met international standards. Hundreds of thousands of Somalilanders turned out to vote in their fourth election, and although wanting international recognition, did not wait to continue to build their nascent democracy. The international community should credit such democratic progress and the example it sets for others."
The Somaliland National Election Commission announced the results on 1 July 2010, the fiftieth anniversary of independence from Britain. They showed that Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo had won the presidential election with just under 50% of the vote, defeating incumbent president Dahir Riyale Kahin, who received 33%.
|Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo||Abdirahman Saylici||KULMIYE||266,906||49.59|
|Dahir Riyale Kahin||Ahmed Yusuf Yasin||UDUB||178,881||33.23|
|Faysal Cali Warabe||Mohammad Rashid||UCID||92,459||17.18|
|Invalid votes||not reported|
|Electorate and turnout||1,069,914||50.31|
|Source: Somalilandpress Somaliland National Electoral Commission (PDF)|
After the results were announced, Kahin congratulated Silanyo and reiterated that he would step down. The Supreme Court was required to endorse the results within 15 days, and the incumbent president was required to hand over power within 30 days. Silanyo was sworn in on 27 July at a ceremony attended by officials of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.
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