According to the Puntland voter registration law (2021), to hold credible and transparent elections, voters must be registered to vote in a process managed by the Transitional Puntland Election Commission (TPEC). The registration process is one of the most challenging phases in the election process, as it often involves numerous technical and administrative tasks that require resources and political will, which can lead to delays in the process. 0n 25th May 2022, TPEC released the schedule for the local elections, which included a list of proposed activities from May 2022 to February 2023. According to the plan, the registration of voters was initially scheduled for July and August 2022. The schedule also indicated the list of intended tasks including the election day initially planned for December 2022. However, the planned activities were delayed for several factors including, political tensions and the prolonged drought that affected most of Puntland regions. In late November, TPEC announced that voter registration will commence on 13th December, but the date was subsequently changed to 5th January 2023 following a request from political associations who wanted to prioritise political solutions to contentious issues around elections.
This brief outlines some key observations from the voter registration process so far, which can inform the next phases of the process, and some scenarios and options on the way forward.
This analytical brief was produced through a collaboration between Puntland Development and Research Centre and the Somali Dialogue Platform (Wadahadalada Somaaliyeed). The Platform is a programme, implemented by the Rift Valley Institute, that works to facilitate agreement amongst Somalis on contentious political issues.