Somaliland will postpone its scheduled presidential election to next year, rather than holding it in November when the incumbent president’s term ends, the region’s electoral body has said.
In August deadly protests broke out in the region with demonstrators demanding elections be held in November amid suspicions President Muse Bihi Abdi wanted to delay the poll and extend his term.
The vote in Somaliland had been slated for Nov. 13, and was seen as a milestone for an aspiring state that’s trying to secure international recognition. That, in turn, would help open the door for crucial financing from international lenders like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The poll will now be held in nine months from October – or next July – because the current scheduled date of Nov. 13 “is not viable due to time, technical and financial constraints,” the Somaliland National Electoral Commission (SLNEC) tweeted.
“We will be in a good position technically and financially to hold presidential elections in nine months, starting from October 1,” the elections commission said
Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 but has not gained widespread international recognition for its independence. The region has been mostly peaceful while Somalia has grappled with three decades of civil war.
In the August clashes between security forces and opposition protesters at least five people were killed and 100 injured.
In a press conference after the SLNEC’s announcement, Wadani, one of the opposition parties that championed the August protests, welcomed the new date.
“We welcome the decision … we congratulate them for ending the controversy of the presidential election,” Mohamud Aden Jama, Wadani party’s information secretary, told the press conference.