After ten years of election delays, finally the people of Somaliland are now expecting to elect their representatives of the Parliament. For the coming weeks, the Political Parties are finalizing the lists of the candidates of the House of Representatives and the Local Councils. Also, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) is expected to conduct reissuing of voter cards to those whom lost theirs, Polling Station Change, the voter card distribution and announcing the lists of registered voters.
The Low-income candidates including women, youth, and minority groups, are complaining about the high charges of the registration fees. The Articles of 68 & 83 of the newly approved combined Election Law requires the candidates of the House of Representatives a registration fee of 40,000,000 Somaliland Shilling (Nearly $4,700), and the candidates of the Local Councils to pay starting from 4,000,000 to 15,000,000 Somaliland Shilling (from $470 to $1,760) based on the category of their Electoral District.
747 candidates from the political parties are running the local councils of the 23 Electoral Districts while 246 candidates from the six regions are running the Parliament. The ministry of finance is supposed to collect the registration fees. The Election Monitoring Office estimated the total amount of the fees expected from the 993 candidates are between $1.8 to $1.93 Million dollars. According to the national budget of 2019, 2020 and 2021, the government allocated the elections nearly 28.8 Billion Somaliland Shilling each year.
The President of Somaliland and his Interior Minister stated that the government fully funded the Voter Registration Process. The Election Monitoring Office commended the president’s commitment of taking the lead to hold the Elections on time and solving most of the challenges, in collaboration with the Opposition Parties. Even the government officials claimed that they fully funded the election process, but there are other facts showing that the International Partners also financially supported. The National Electoral Commission of Somaliland confirmed that the International Partners financially and technically supported the Electoral Process. The Election Monitoring Office noted that the UK alone contributed more than $2.6 Million to the Somaliland Electoral Process, while other donors including the EU and Sweden financially and technically funded the Election Process.
EMO is welcoming the President’s speech, directing the governors to facilitate fair platform for the candidates during the Election Season, but the Election Monitoring Office is concerned about the resent detaining of two candidates from UCID Party in Hargeisa. EMO is condemning the arresting and detaining of the two candidates, it is a very concerning issue. We are calling the government authorities who arrested us. This is the first test of the president’s speech directing the government officials to prepare a fair and peaceful platform to the candidates.