Somaliland is preparing for its third independent presidential election and in preparation for this has invited over 60 international election observers, including members of the UNPO staff, to Hargeisa. This election is especially important as it marks the first time that an African state will use iris-scan biometric technology. Observers will be examining all aspects of the election from pre-election campaigning, the access to media to the voting itself. The election, set to be held on 13 November, also marks the first time that an incumbent president does not seek re-election in the country.
Below is an article published by AllAfrica:
International observers are hoping for a successful and peaceful Presidential election in the breakaway region of Somaliland.
The first members of a team of 60 international election observers arrived in Hargeisa on Friday ahead of the November 13 polls.
The British government funded International Election Observation Mission (EOM) was invited by Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC).
This is the third presidential election in Somaliland and the first poll to use a new voter registration system which itself marks the first use of iris-scan biometric technology in an African election.
“The EOM is particularly hopeful that the implementation of the voter registration system will address issues that have marred previous elections, and looks forward to commencing its mission” a statement from the observers read.
“Team co-ordinators will examine all aspects of the pre-election campaign, including access by political parties to locations for campaigning, the equality of access to the media, and the procedures that will be employed for the distribution of election materials, voting itself and the counting and tallying of ballots” it added. The full team is made up of observers from 24 countries.
“This election will mark a milestone in Somaliland’s electoral development as it will be the first time that the incumbent has not challenged for the top job. As ever, there have been complex realignments in the positioning of different groups, and a peaceful and credible poll would represent a significant step forward in the consolidation of the representative democracy that has become such an impressive hallmark of Somaliland politics over the past 15 years” Dr Michael Walls of DPU, chief observer on the EOM said upon arrival.