Press Statement by the South African Observer Mission to the Somaliland Parliamentary elections
30 September 2005
A 12-person South African team was honoured to observe the first parliamentary elections in Somaliland held on September 29 2005. The team comprised a senior politician, diplomats, scholars, election specialists, researchers and media. Some of them have observed Somaliland’s constitutional referendum and presidential elections.
The team was deployed in three of Somaliland’s six regions, ranging from the capital Hargeisa to central rural towns. They visited a total of 71 polling stations to observe voting and counting of the ballots. In this exercise they enjoyed the full co-operation of the National Electoral Commission. They could not stay for the announcement of the final result. Members interfaced and co-operated fully with other international observers before and during the voting and counting. A detailed interim report will be released on 1 October 2005.
After consulting today, the team notes that the election process proceeded very peacefully and without any sign of intimidation. It was heartened by the high turnout of voters, particularly women. However, it noted the small number of women candidates.
Members were gratified to see another example of long lines of fellow Africans waiting patiently under the hot sun to have their voices heard through the ballot box.
They observed that the process was transparent.
While they noticed numerous administrative and logistical shortcomings, members able to make the comparison noticed many improvements over previous elections.
Considering the particular context of Somaliland, team members judged the elections to be largely successful. However, more could be done regarding voter education.
Nevertheless they believe the parliamentary poll is a creditable final piece in Somaliland’s democratisation process achieved largely through its own efforts. On the whole the team believes the 2005 parliamentary election broadly reflects the will of Somalilanders.
“We believe this peaceful Somaliland parliamentary election has served democracy well and is a key signpost in Somaliland’s democratic development and history”, said mission leader Mandla Nkomfe.
Mandla Nkomfe –Leader of the South African Observer Mission (Mr. Mandla Nkomfe is Chief Whip of the ANC in the Gauteng Legislature)
For further information and interviews contact : Miss Zahira Seedat, Co-ordinator of the South African Observer Mission. Tel: mobile 407 951 Telesom & Maan-soor Hotel, Tel : 828 3628/39/40 e-mail: email@example.com
Issued by: South African Observer Mission, Hargeisa, 30 September 2005