The Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights, Congressman Chris Smith in a hearing held hours ago by the committee on Elections in Africa has praised Somaliland for advancing electoral democracy on its upcoming parliamentary and local elections on May 31st.
“I would also like to close on a positive note. However and focus on a place where the electoral democracy appears to be advancing and that would be Somaliland a region of Somalia. Despite lacking official recognition, Somaliland is a de facto autonomous and self-governing unit.” said Congressman Smith.
Congressman Smith who spoke insightfully on Somaliland’s upcoming parliamentary and local elections, the contesting parties, and political dynamics of Somaliland stated “It has scheduled parliamentary and local elections for May 31st of this year following an inclusive voter registration between the end of 2020 and January 2021. The first statement issued by Denmark, European Union, Finland, France Germany, Italy, Ireland the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and United States. The election between the governing Unity and development of Kulmiye a party and two opposition parties Justice and Welfare included looks like it will be robustly and test. Another important aspect is it looks like partisan affiliation is transcending Clan affiliation in that region.”.
In a widely praised move that is a first for the region, the President of the Republic of Somaliland, HE Muse Bihi has issued a directive to the Ministry of Finance Development to waive National Election Commission registration fees for women and minority communities’ candidates to ensure their successful participation in the elections.
Unlike Taiwan, the EU, the UK, Denmark Sweden Norway, Congress Smith regretted the fact that the United States has not contributed financially to Somaliland’s upcoming parliamentary and local elections, and added that he hopes that the International Republican Institute can send election observers to Somaliland. In closing, he appealed to Somaliland to continue its march towards “total democracy”.
The United States which maintained a dual track for Somaliland and Somalia has but since the appointment of now-former Ambassador Donald Yamamoto has pivoted to one Somalia policy. It is unclear if the United States policy towards Somaliland will change with its democratization efforts and success in holding elections in stark contrast to Somalia where disputes between Federal Government, Federal Member States, and opposition politicians have delayed the elections scheduled for February 8th.