Monday, March 16, 2009

Somaliland opposition 'ready for election'

Somaliland opposition 'ready for election' but April 6 is the deadline for Riyal'es government

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 16 (Xaqsoor)- The leading opposition party in the republic of Somaliland has again demanded a caretaker government to rule the region during a two-month transitional period.

Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the presidential candidate for the Kulmiye opposition party, addressed a crowd Monday at the opening of a youth office in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

Ahmed Silanyo, Somaliland opposition leader
"Some people are saying that Kulmiye party is against the election. But Kulmiye is ready for the election this hour, Kulmiye is ready on May 31, but April 6 is the deadline for Riyal'es government," Mr. Silanyo declared, adding: "The dispute is who will rule the country [Somaliland] until the election date."

The Secretary of the ruling UDUB party, Mr. Jama Yasin Farah, told a party gathering in the city of Burao that the Kulmiye party's demands are "unfortunate."

"The people will only accept the constitutional process and I urge Kulmiye [party] to accept the decision reached by the Somaliland election commission," Mr Farah said, while referring to the commission's controversial move to delay the presidential election from March 29 to May 31.

Meanwhile, Somaliland's upper house of parliament, the House of Guurti, voted today to extend its ordinary session by an additional month to help mediate among the political parties.

The political crisis in Somaliland started in April 2008, when President Riyale's constitutional five-year mandate ended. The House of Guurti voted to give the Riyale administration an additional year in office, in a move condemned by the opposition as illegal.

The dispute was later resolved and a new election date was set for March 29, 2009, when Mr. Riyale and Mr. Silanyo were expected to face-off in a presidential race similar to 2003, when Silanyo lost by less than 90 votes.

But the election commission's unilateral decision to delay the election until May 31 has deepened the political dispute, with the Kulmiye party demanding that the two houses of parliament appoint a caretaker government that can lead Somaliland until the election.

There is fear and lack of confidence in the Riyale circle, as many of his diehard supporters left his umbrella, after his clumsy and heavy handed management of his nomination early last month. He lost strong men from two major Isaq clans Habar Awal and Arab. As Habar Jeclo was vehemently in his opposition and as a strong wing of Habar Yonis formed alliance with Habar Jeclo in last week's clan conference in Buroa, it is mathmatically impossible for him to succeed in the following election. That analysis is cemented by the fact that Mohamed Asse of Gadabursi clan joined Kulmiye party where they secured Vice President candidacy. On the other hand Habar Arfan of Gadabursi are running for the same position in UCID party.

It has to be noted the deep rooted clan rivalry between Mohamed Asse and Makahiil of Gadabursi. The latter being Riyal's clan. Mohamed Asse dominates elected representatives of Awdal region, as they secured more than half of elected Awdal MPs, despite Riyal's opposition. On top of that the administration's failure in every sector of life and in every region is daily documented in local media. Corruption, inefficiency and lack of qualified personnel in his cabinet cripples his government.  With continuous imprisonment and harassment of independent local media staff and his use of feeble Radio Hargeysa as a propaganda machinery backfired, as it reminded the public the era of military dictatorship.

All in all, an overwhelming majority of Somalilanders believe there is no way he can win in a free and fair election. On equal rating they believe he will play every card to postpone election and extend his term by using his agents in the Supereme Court, whose judges are under the control of the presidency. The local population and international community expressed their concern of worsening situation in the Somaliland. Recently there is no day without delegations from the Western Europe and Nothern America.

Xaqsoor Reporters







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