In July of 2020, Taiwan established relations with Somaliland in the Horn of Africa and soon thereafter exchanged ambassadors.
Like Taiwan, Somaliland is a state looking for increased global recognition and acceptance.
Unlike Taiwan, Somaliland does not have the same degree of experience in holding free and fair democratic elections, although with an electoral process now stretching back almost 20 years at time of typing, this is starting to change.
As such, the following announcement by the nation’s National Electoral Commission sees Somaliland one step further along the road to full acceptance by the international community.
In this quest The Taiwan Times wishes Somaliland and her people well.
The Somaliland National Electoral Commission welcomes the official announcement by the president that Somaliland’s local and parliamentary elections will take place on the 31st of May 2021, thereby reaffirming Somaliland’s longstanding commitment to the democratic processes and ideals espoused on our inception three decades ago.
As highlighted in today’s joint statement by our international partners, these forthcoming elections indeed present the perfect opportunity to showcase Somaliland’s democratic credentials evidenced by previous local and presidential elections in years gone by.
This auspicious occasion also provides the framework through which many of the processes to be adopted on the 31st of May can be employed in local and national elections at all levels in the future.
Whilst the NEC expresses its debt of gratitude to our international partners, it should be noted that achievement of our democratic aims are facilitated through the support and cooperation of Somaliland’s three main political parties who have set aside any political differences in order to guarantee that these elections take place without interruption or postponement.
It of course goes without saying that the NEC also wishes to express our appreciation towards the government of Somaliland that continues to provide the framework in which electoral candidates, voters, and media outlets can all operate freely, with no concerns around safety, security, or freedom of expression.
We welcome the international community’s acknowledgment of the NEC’s endeavours in overseeing the successful completion of voter registration between 29th November 2020 and 13th January 2021. This commendation undoubtedly takes note of the NEC’s tireless efforts to guarantee that full voter participation.
The NEC is currently in the process of ensuring the integrity of the up-to-date voter database by combining previous records from 2016 to include newly registered constituents eligible to vote for the first time in 2021. This will confirm that there is no duplication of constituents and that any attempt to do so precludes participation in the overall electoral process.
As part of the above-mentioned efforts, the NEC has also announced that all regions and voting districts will be set up by early-March whereby individual voter registration cards will be distributed subject to confirmation of constituents’ identity. This will be done through various technological tools generously provided by our international partners.
In tandem with technological support, financial and technical assistance on the ground have both been generously provided by the international community and this is evidenced most recently by way of the basket fund by the EU, Sweden and the UK.
Some of those funds have already been used for the recent and ongoing voter registration process, there is also additional financial support in the pipeline from the international community.
In addition, we cite previously examples of support extended to the NEC by the UK through the provision of voter registration and iris scan software licensing was a key element of the digitalisation process that will safeguard election integrity.
Such examples thereby underpin the international community’s longstanding support and commitment to coordinated efforts towards democratisation in Somaliland.
In summary, the NEC recognises this unique opportunity for Somaliland to reinforce its commitment to democratic principles and will continue to work tirelessly with all local, national, international, and non-governmental bodies to ensure that the upcoming elections are seamless and that outcomes are free, fair, and fully transparent and meet international and regional standards.
Somaliland National Electoral Commission
- first published in the Somaliland Chronicle and republished with permission