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.[1] There was also a low voter turnout, vote-buying attempts, and several deaths reported in the disputed eastern Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions.[2]


The elections were originally scheduled for 31 August 2008,[3] 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,[4] setting the election for 15 March 2009.[5] This was heavily criticised by the opposition -- in the end, a compromise led to the date of 6 April 2009,[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] President Dahir Riyale Kahin subsequently asked the Guurti for yet another term extension since it would expire on 29 September, but was denied this.[13] 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.[14]

Somaliland politicians then expected the election to be held in January 2010 at the earliest.[15] Later, April 2010 was mentioned,[16] but it soon became clear this date would also be missed.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] Biometric voting cards arrived at Egal International Airport on 5 May 2010, and will be distributed from 10 May on.[20] 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.[21]

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.[22]


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".[23][24] However, Garowe Online reported a low voter turnout in the disputed eastern Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions, and attempts on the part of the ruling UDUB party to buy votes in the Erigavo area. Fighting between local residents and electoral officials at a town near Las Anod, the Sool region’s administrative capital, also reportedly left at least two people dead.[2]


On Somalia's 50th year anniversary of independence from Britain and Italy,[25] July 1, 2010, the Somaliland National Election Commission announced that Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo had won the presidential election with 49.94 percent of the vote[1] over a turnout that was estimated at 33% around noon.[26] The incumbent president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, received 33 percent of votes.[1] Silanyo can count on a majority in Somaliland's parliament his party has held since elections in 2005.

e • d Summary of the 26 June 2010 Somaliland presidential election results
Candidate Running mate Party Votes %
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
Valid votes 538,246 100.00
Invalid votes not reported
Total 538,246 100.00
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.[27] The Supreme Court must endorse the results within 15 days and the incumbent president hand over power within 30 days.[28] Silanyo was sworn in on 27 July at a ceremony attended by officials of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.[29]


  1. ^ a b c "Opposition leader elected Somaliland president". Google News. AFP. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  2. ^ a b Somalia: Residents clash with Somaliland election officials
  3. ^ Electoral Calendar- world elections,US elections,presidential election,world parties
  4. ^ "Somaliland: Presidential Term Extended to 2009". UNPO. 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  5. ^ "Somaliland: Elections Slated for December 2008". UNPO. 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  6. ^ "Somaliland: Agreement Reached on Election date". UNPO. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  7. ^ "Somaliland: Election Postponed By Two Months". UNPO. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  8. ^ "Breaking News: House of Elders Extend the Government’s Term". SomalilandPress. 2009-03-28. Retrieved 2009-09-05. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Somaliland Political Situation Update". SomalilandPress. 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2009-09-05. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Somaliland: Presidential Decree To Set the Election Date". SomalilandPress. 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2009-09-05. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Somaliland Parties Sign the “Electoral Code of Conduct”". SomalilandPress. 2009-07-11. Retrieved 2009-09-05. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Somaliland postpones election again, no new date". Garowe Online. 6 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  13. ^ "Somaliland parliament refuses term extension for president". Garowe Online. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  14. ^ Kheyre, Ahmed (2009-09-28). "Somaliland: A New Way Forward Toward Peaceful Elections". SomalilandPress. Retrieved 2009-09-28. [dead link]
  15. ^ Brown, Matt (2009-10-20). "Somaliland readies for presidential election". Hargeisa/Abu Dhabi: The National. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  16. ^ "Somaliland elections: Who is the lesser of the evils: Kulmiye , UDUB or UCID?". Medeshi. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ "First batch of ballot boxes arrive". Somalilandpress. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010. [dead link]
  19. ^ Noor, Hussein Ali (28 April 2010). "Election officials back June poll in Somaliland". Hargeisa: Reuters. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  20. ^ "Somaliland presidential election underway". Hargeisa: SomalilandPress. 5 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  21. ^ "SOMALILAND: President approves election date". Hargeisa: SomalilandPress. 15 May 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  22. ^ "NEC office announces final voters list". Hargeisa: Somalilandpress. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  23. ^ Int'l observers say Somaliland presidential poll free, fair
  24. ^ Institute of Commonwealth Studies - Catholic Institute for International Relations
  25. ^ "Opposition wins Somaliland vote - Africa". Al Jazeera English. 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  26. ^ Onyiego, Michael (26 June 2010). "Calm, High Turnout in Somaliland Elections Despite Isolated Clash". Nairobi: Voice of America. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  27. ^ "Kulmiye party wins Somaliland election". Hargeisa: SomalilandPress. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  28. ^ Noor, Hussein Ali (1 July 2010). "Somaliland opposition head wins presidential poll". Hargeisa: Reuters. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  29. ^ "Somaliland new president takes power". Hargeisa: Somalilandpress. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 

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