Hope for international recognition as Somaliland votes

Monday November 13 2017

 Somaliland

This file photo taken on May 18, 2016 shows a woman holding a flag as soldiers and other military personnel of Somaliland march past during an Independence day celebration parade in the capital, Hargeisa. PHOTO | MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB | AFP 

By ABDULKADIR KHALIF
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The citizens of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland trooped to polling stations Monday morning to cast their ballots in a presidential election.

Three candidates are vying for the presidency.

They are Mr Muse Bihi Abdi of the ruling Kulmiye Party, Mr Abdurahman Mohamed Irro of Wadani and Mr Faysal Ali Warabe of UCID.

The electoral commission spokesman, Mr Said Ali Muse, said from the capital Hargeisa, that the voting started at around 7am and the process was running smoothly.

The potential voters were being identified through a manual register and electronically.

“It is the first time that an iris (eye part) reader is employed in an election in Africa,” said Mr Muse.

There are 1,642 polling stations spread across 21 districts in Somaliland, which declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991.

Since breaking away from the rest of Somalia, the region has had four presidents.

Somaliland is in desperate search for international recognition, hoping that the latest election would help the cause.

Analysts believe the poll, if credible, would enhance Somaliland's democratic credentials and improve the prospects for the international getting recognition.