Somaliland: NEC States Why Elections Have to Be Delayed for the 6th Time

The National Electoral Commission of the Republic of Somaliland, Thursday, declared that, given prevailing circumstances and impending issues that need to be finalized before polling day, elections cannot possibly be held at the appointed day of 12 December 2019.

NEC Chairman, Abdulkadir Iman Wargame, speaking to the media, stated that the parliamentary elections slated for 12 December cannot be conducted as scheduled because of outstanding ‘legal and technical’ issues.

“Article 9 of Law No. 20/2001 obligates that the reigning commission must state whether an upcoming election could be held or not 120 days before the slated date. Today, we declare neither the voter registration act nor a formal re-opening of constituents’ voter registration had been accomplished – neither of which is the primary responsibility go NEC,” Commission Chairman Abdulkadir Iman said, detailing how his Commission had forwarded the draft Bill to the legislative council and how that Bill had not been passed until now.

NEC Chairman Abdulkadir Iman

“We, hereby,” he said, “declare that the anticipated elections cannot be conducted as planned on the date set , which is a month before the current term of the sitting parliament expires, due to prevailing legal, technical and political issues”.

Chairman stated that they had put their concerns in writing to the President who, as the law stipulated, would respond to it within 15 days of delivery.

Going over major hurdles which NEC had successfully sailed over, Chairman Iman pointed out the meticulous preparations the Commission has completed before the 2017 Presidential elections and the the auditing post-election of system it has undertaken since then.

“This commission has successfully printed highly-encrypted and secured voting cards, and had, beyond the expectations of many, undertook an ultra-modern iris-recognition voter registration system which was by itself an experimental, bold step that the world had rarely used before now,” he said.

“Since then, he said we entered an agreement with the US Iris ID firm to carryout a thorough system audit on what worked, what did not, and what needed updates and/or improvement in preparation for the anticipated parliamentary and municipal elections. We also contracted the South African New Metrics to propose best venues, best tech to implement updates and system upgrades suggested. Both exercises had been full implemented and a mock voter-registration exercise staged with the participation of political parties and members of the public,” Iman added.

Commissioner Iman lauded the agreement the three national political parties reached on 27 July 2019.

What he did not say was that the bickering, which mostly came from Wadding party, has contributed to loss of time which could have been used to pressure the legislature to pass the required law without which elections will not be possible.

The Commissioner, responding to questions fielded by the press, stated that the incumbent Commission has been unequivocaly absolved by both domestic and international observers.

“We declare to you that no complaint or legal challenge had been submitted to appropriate authorities within the allotted time following the balloting day. Complaints are initiated at the polling station, forwarded to the district and so on to the final dest at NEC and to the judicial system. None of the parties had submitted a single complaint along the set process detailed by Law No. 20/2001,” he said, adding that any complaints forwarded by any party or parties much later than the assigned time or wishing set procedures could not be seriously considered.

Commissioner Iman added that the current Commission was ready to hand over to the next, fifth Commission at the expiry of their term a little over a month away.