The international election observation mission (IEOM) to the poll on 13 November 2017 today releases its final report, entitled “The limits of consensus?”. The IEOM assembled 60 observers from 27 countries at the invitation of Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission. The IEOM observed 355 polling stations (22% of the total), across all six regions of Somaliland and 17 of the 21 districts. The IEOM reported a largely peaceful and well-organised polling day in areas observed, albeit with some irregularities, but not of sufficient scale to have impacted the final result. Thus, the violence following polling day—which saw some deaths amid allegations of electoral malpractice—was deeply disappointing.
Says Dr Michael Walls, chief observer of the IEOM:
“Once again, Somaliland called on its admirable tradition of conflict resolution to defuse a potentially dangerous post-election situation. But Somaliland is at a crucial stage: over-reliant on a customary system to solve problems, with the chosen electoral system not yet fully accepted as a means of determining political leadership. Set against a background in which major international deals are pushing the stakes higher, we note the need for renewed commitment to an inclusive politics. We hope Somaliland’s democratic journey will continue peacefully, and move on to the next stage, namely holding its much-delayed parliamentary poll in 2019 as scheduled.”