President Muse Bihi has come out to defend the move by the Somaliland House of Elders (The Guurti) to extend his term in office by a further two years.
In a statement released by the ministry of Foreign Affairs and seemingly authored by the President, the government at the same time said it is focussed on ensuring the political association elections are held soon.
But the statement by the MOFA which seems to have been authored by President Muse Bihi came short of explaining the reasoning behind the extension of his term which is the issue in contention.
The statement read: “I (read President Bihi) welcome the nearly unanimous decision by the Guurti, Somaliland’s upper parliamentary chamber, to ensure the continuity of government as this process (political association elections) is undertaken.”
It added: “My administration will work with Somaliland’s democratic institutions to ensure that the upcoming presidential election is held as expediently as possible, with guidelines established by the NEC.”
The statement which was a response to the international community who urged for dialogue in the political standoff between the government and the opposition over the presidential elections which were due to be held in November but have since been pushed foward by two years after a ruling by the House of Elders last Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the government is open to engage in dialogue with all political stakeholders to advance the country’s democratic processes and pledges to uphold the spirit of Somaliland’s Constitution regarding the election of political parties.
The statement added: “The Republic of Somaliland has held one-person one-vote elections with the participation of international observers for over twenty years.
“Somaliland’s democratic institutions are resilient, independent and accountable, and they serve as a model for others in the region and beyond.
“In that spirit, we pledge to uphold the letter and spirit of Somaliland’s Constitution regarding the election of political parties and our subsequent obligation to hold elections in accordance with guidelines established by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
“We further commit to continue dialogue with all political stakeholders in the hope that we will come together as fellow citizens to advance our democratic processes and dispense with provocative rhetoric and actions that are meant to sow division.”
“We are confident that the people of Somaliland will work diligently to achieve the consensus necessary within the framework of our Constitution and rule of law to chart a clear path forward and preserve the highest standards of our democratic tradition.”
On Wednesday, the international community raised their concern over the Guurti’s unilateral decision to extend the term of President Bihi by a further two years.
The international community who support Somaliland’s progress and demarcation in a news release urged for a concensus driven process which will allow the election to be held soonest.
The brief statement by Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United states stated: “Following the decision of the Somaliland House of Elders (Guurti) ion manadate extensions this weekend, international partners follwong the democratisation process want to underline the importance of a consensus driven prcess which allows elections to be held as soon as possible in a manner consistent with the technical considerations set out by Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission.”We once again urge all Somaliland political actors to work together constructively to agree on a timely roadmap for the elections for Somaliland’s democratic credibility and stability.”