Thousands of Somalis in the northeastern state of Puntland have turned out to vote in the region’s first election since its formation. This marks the first time that one-person-one-vote elections are taking place in Somalia, albeit at the regional government level. A total of over 387,000 voters have registered across all 37 districts of Puntland state.
The Puntland Local Council Elections are being contested by over 3,775 candidates from seven political associations, including President Saed Abdullahi Deni’s KAAH party. The Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) has reported that 28% of candidates are women, while a notable proportion of young candidates are also in the running.
The international community has hailed the election as a “historic” step towards national-wide one-person-one-vote democratic elections in Somalia. The partners have encouraged all stakeholders to contribute to ensuring the elections are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere and to address any questions or disputes that may arise through dialogue and the legal framework.
The partners believe that Puntland’s experience with direct elections has the potential to inform and inspire the expansion of democracy across Somalia, at all levels of government. This development is expected to boost the country’s democratic progress and bring about positive change for the people of Somalia.
As the elections proceed, the world watches with anticipation as Somalis exercise their democratic right to vote and make their voices heard. The outcome of the elections will have far-reaching implications for the future of Puntland and Somalia as a whole, and the hope is that it will pave the way for more democratic processes across the country.
Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing conflict and security concerns, the people of Puntland have remained determined to participate in the electoral process and choose their representatives at the local council level. This is a testament to their resilience and commitment to building a better future for themselves and their communities.
The international community has pledged its support to ensure that the elections are conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner. It is hoped that this will set a precedent for future elections in Somalia and help strengthen the country’s democratic institutions.
As the results of the elections begin to trickle in, the eyes of the world remain fixed on Puntland and Somalia, watching with hope and anticipation as the country takes an important step towards a more democratic future.