Medeshi March 17, 2009
Update on Somaliland election preparation
Progress on preparation for the elections has been slow in the past weeks. Data cleaning based on fingerprinting has been going well, but it seems that the facial recognition part of the process may take longer than expected.
Many of you may have heard the tragic news that the newly appointed head of the Voter Registration process within the Electoral Commission (NEC), Hassan Mohamed Loshade, died of heart failure on Friday afternoon. He had only resumed his role as Chair of VR that morning and had had a series of meetings with Interpeace, members of the Democratisation Programme, and other groups earlier in the day, before collapsing and dying in hospital that afternoon. Loshade came from the eastern Sanaag, and they are now involved in nominating his replacement on the Commission. The Chair of NEC, Jama 'Sweden', has meanwhile appointed a past NEC Chair, Mohamed Yusuf, as Chair of Voter Registration.
President Rayaale has just returned to Hargeisa after the trip that took him to London for talks with Foreign Secretary Miliband and to Ethiopia.
Over two weeks has now elapsed since the NEC announced that a 90 day delay would be needed in order for preparations for the election to be completed, and in the light of recent events, including the lack of visible progress on agreeing a firm new date, there is some discussion that even an election day of 31st May may not allow sufficient time. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by NEC,donors and political parties, no new date can be announced until all those groups have agreed to it. All parties have not yet agreed to 31 May, so that date has never been made official, and neither has any new date.
The President has asked that the Supreme Court provide an interpretation of Article 83 of the Constitution, which outlines the process of transfer of power from one executive to another. The current situation is not envisaged, and Kulmiye are arguing that a caretaker government should be formed once the existing term expires. The Government is arguing that this is not necessary. The Constitution is available at http://www.somalilandlaw.com/Somaliland_Constitution/body_somaliland_constitution.htm