LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS
The phased process of conducting local government elections (LGEs) in Puntland has now commenced, building on the agreements made between various political actors— mainly the political associations, Puntland state and the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC). The initial phase involved voter registration, which was first concluded in Bari, Karkaar and Gardafui, with similar campaigns reaching areas of Nugal, Mudug, Sanaag and Haylaan. The total number of registered voters, including those who took part in the early elections, amounts to 387, 094.
While voter registration is a vital component of any local elections process, it is also the juncture at which unresolved political disputes come to a head, potentially delaying subsequent phases. Thus, it comes as little surprise that voter registration in Puntland was several times due to emerging political and institutional challenges, such as disputes over district demarcation and lack of buy-in from some political parties and elites.
The transition to one person one vote (OPOV) in Puntland has been volatile and fraught with obstacles. Thus, considerable efforts are needed to ensure that the remaining local elections in Puntland’s districts proceed in a peaceful, fair and timely manner. In particular, there remains a lack of clarity on the overall implications of the LGEs for Puntland’ s parliamentary elections.
While most political actors are now supportive of the local elections process, the timing and modality of the parliamentary elections continues to provoke controversy. As long as this issue remains unresolved, it threatens to generate political disputes that could derail the entire process. The aim of this briefing is therefore to analyse possible scenarios around the process and provide options for managing the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
This briefing outlines the issues and recommendations going 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.