News24

Somaliland elections postponed

2009-09-07 21:05

Hargeysa - The electoral commission in Somalia's northwestern breakaway state of Somaliland announced on Monday that a presidential election due at the end of the month had been indefinitely postponed.

The commission said the election would not be held as scheduled on September 27 and that a new date would be decided at a later stage.

"Considering the political situation in the region and the need for a broader solution, we have decided to delay the election date," the statement said.

After much bickering, the incumbent regime of President Dahir Riyale Kahin and the two main opposition parties agreed the polls should be delayed following a mediation by the council of elders.

The election has already been delayed twice, notably over a disagreement concerning the territory's voters' register.

Fierce protests

In July, Riyale and the electoral commission decided to discard a biometric register that had taken two years to set up, prompting fierce protests and threats of boycott from the two main opposition groups.

"It will not be possible for the elections to be held at this point when the political parties in the country are still failing to reach an agreement," the commission's statement explained.

Riyale, who was born in 1952 and has been in power since May 2002, is seeking re-election but faces a stiff challenge from Faisal Ali Warabe, of the Justice and Welfare Party, and Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud, of the Development and Solidarity Party.

A former British protectorate, Somaliland united with Italian Somalia in 1960. It unilaterally broke away and announced independence 10 months after Somali strongman Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.

Somaliland, which has been more stable and economically viable than central and southern Somalia in recent years, is seeking international recognition as an independent state.