The Somaliland presidential election, in which three candidates – Musa Bihi Abdi (Kulmiye), Abdirahman Mohamed Abdilahi, known as Cirro (Wadani), and Feysal Ali Warabe (UCID) – were running, passed off without incident on 13 November. Information from a variety of sources points to a victory for Kulmiye. The major innovation compared to previous elections was the introduction of biometric voting cards which identify the holder using iris recognition technology. It had a significant impact, not least in reducing the number of voters from around a million to some 800,000 by eliminating numerous Somalis from regions in the south, which are under the authority of Mogadishu or the Ogaden territory of Ethiopia, who were previously able to vote. The official results are due to be announced on 17 or 18 November, but according to our information, Kulmiye obtained nearly 80,000 more votes than Wadani.
Great efforts were made to make a good impression on the international community, and now for the first time both London (which covered a large part of the budget of roughly $10m) and Brussels are questioning the justification for recognising Mogadishu while refusing to recognise Hargeisa. Musa Bihi Abdi is expected to assume office on 14 December and to form an inclusive government in which portfolios will be allocated to Wadani. Representatives from Wadani and Kulmiye reached agreement on this issue on 16 November at a meeting behind closed doors at the Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa. Leading Wadani figures conceded defeat in the election and pledged not to contest the result, although they will be raising a number of irregularities with the Somaliland judiciary.