The 66-member Parliament of the Federal Somalia State of Puntland is expected to pick a President for the state Tuesday.
The State Electoral Commission published a list of 21 contestants running for the Presidency and a further 11 candidates vying for the Vice Presidency position as below:
The number would have been much more if candidates who withdraw from the race since last week stayed.
Among those who are throwing their dice with the MPs is Dr. Ali Essa Abdi, who has been serving as an economic advisor to the government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo at Villa Somalia, Mogadishu. Dr. Ali is well known as an academician who held several high profile jobs nationally and internationally. As such, critics had been taken aback when he declared that he was running for the Presidency of a regional state.
Nevertheless, observers had placed Dr. Ali could as the best choice Presidency but that he stands no chance at all to win, making his bid belie his academic background and experience. For one, he hails from Dhulbahante – a clan that has no roots in Puntland proper. Secondly, 90% if not all 11 people running for the Vice-presidency are from his clan – a state which shoves his chances to the very bottom of all hopes.
Unlike Somaliland where the public electorate vote for the President of their choice, the 66 members of parliament vote for who is going to lead the federal state for the next five years.
At the end of the day, 40+ of the members may decide who the leader and his deputy would be.
One point campaign contenders for the highest post had in common at this ‘election’ was their vow to ‘liberate’ large regions in Somaliland from under its jurisdiction. Their call solely rests on clan affiliation. The regions of Sool, Buuhoodle and eastern Sanaag were politically, geographically, and historically of Somaliland since 1884. Leaders from these regions have played leading roles in the quest for independence of the pre-60 Somaliland, in the proclamation of present-day Somaliland, and in shaping up the modern Somaliland Republic of today.