Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi continued to keep the country guessing on the roadmap to the Presidential elections during his annual address to the joint house of Parliament in Hargeisa on May 9.
Instead, the president took his time to talk about the country’s economy, infrastructure, security, foreign policy and the aftermath of the devastation of the fire tragedy that hit the Waheen Market in the country’s capital.
When it came to addressing the thorny issue of the elections programme which has put him at loggerheads with the opposition, the president only touched about the joint (parliamentary and civic) elections that were held last year.
“Last year, I addressed the House of Representatives with only 83 days to go before the House of Representatives elections of Somaliland,” the president said.
“Former members of the House of Representatives are experienced men who have served the nation for 15 years or more. I said, “Your time at the House has ended, and we hope that you’ll work with us to make this transition go as smoothly as possible” They accepted, and they kept that promise.
“Today, thank God, we have had a series of elections that have won the admiration of the whole world. Somaliland has also once again had the opportunity to elect members of parliament for the next five years, mostly young men, although I regret that none of the women candidates in the House of Representatives have won.”
“Therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen, the new House of Representatives came as a result of the full cooperation and collaboration between the National Institutions, in order to realize the National aspirations of holding the bipartisan-elections of the House of Representatives and the Local Councils. It shows the good results that can come from good cooperation between the National Assemblies. It is a symbol of the beauty of our nation and the belief in the aspirations of our people.”
While the president said that Somaliland is proud of its democracy and free and fair elections, he also said that it elections should take place on time and that the national parties which are the means by which citizens achieve their political aspirations, should be law-abiding, non-partisan, and within them a true democracy based on clear principles and policies that define the country’s development agenda.
“As a government, we are committed to fulfilling our responsibilities in this year’s elections on time, and any challenges we face will be addressed in a legal manner and in consultation with the National Institutions,” the president said.
He added: “Politics is like a game of chess. Therefore, I advise political parties and organizations to cleanly put their hands in the dust.
“Elections do not require a whirlwind. Your insults do not lead to political victory. Threats are cowardly.
“Politics does not require false promises, uncertain political reflections and does not mean political victory.
“I hope that those who do not win will be able to dust off their fingers and accept their loss with grace,” he stated.
President has already served five years with his term set to end in November.
However, with six months to go, there is still no clear cup road map to the elections and the opposition parties led by the Wadani party has been demanding that the government comes out open about the path to the Presidential elections.
Wadani Party presidential candidate has said that the president does not want elections in the country and has, called on his supporters to be prepared to oppose President Bihi’s planned term extension.
“If elections do not take place on November 13, 2022, we will not recognize Bihi and his government as a legitimate governing body.” Abdirahman Irro said.
Presidential elections are expected to be held in Somaliland in November 2022, the fourth direct presidential elections since 2003. According to the constitution of Somaliland, presidential elections are to be held every 5 years.
Before the presidential elections, the party elections have to be held.
Last year, the ruling Kulmiye party spokesman hinted that the elections may not take place this year.
Kulmiye party spokesman Abdinasir Muhumed Hassan Buni said in August last year that Somaliland’s presidential election will not take place since the 10 year party permits will expire.
Buni claimed the election of Somaliland’s political parties will take place ahead of Somaliland’s presidential election 2022, adding that the current parties Kulmiye, UCID and Wadani tenure will end at the end of this year.
“In 2022, the party licenses will expire and no presidential election could be held. The parties with expired permits can’t go to the polls and let all three parties be aware that we will hold the Guurti election, and the presidential election will follow,” Said Buni.
The licenses of the three parties, will expire in December 2022, preceding is the expiration of the Guurti on May of 2022, while the presidential election is scheduled for Nov. 2022.
The Political Associations Act stipulates that the opening must be implemented six months prior to the presidential election, allowing the three successful political parties to participate in the presidential election.
Kulmiye party’s plan is to hold the Guurti elections and the political parties ahead of the presidential election, making it easier for President Bihi to remain in power for an extended period of time.
In the joint elections last year, the two opposition parties won a majority of seats.
Out of parliament’s 82 seats, the Somaliland National Party-Waddani, won 31 and the Justice and Welfare Party (UCID), won 21 seats. The ruling Peace, Unity and Development Party- Kulmiye, secured 30 seats.
The results have given the opposition Waddani led by Mr Abdirahman Mohammed Abdillahi confidence of cinching the presidency when the elections are held.