Somaliland: NEC Parliamentary and Local Councils Elections Readiness Roundup


Somalilandsun: The upcoming Parliamentary & Local Elections will set another record of Somaliland’s distinction in its grassroots commitment to advancing its democratic governance unlike the majority of the states in its neighbourhoods.

This follows the registration of One million & two hundred thousand Plus voters by the national elections commission –NEC thus enable citizens elect proffered representatives in their respective Local Council & Parliament through One man, one vote during polls slated for the 31st May 2021.

“I can confidently report that we have concluded all activities related to voter registration nationwide” said NEC Chairman Commissioner Eng. Abdirashid Mahmud Ali Aka Riyo-rac after the entire seven-member electoral body met and briefed president Musa Bihi Abdi at the Somaliland presidency in Hargeisa on the 23rd April 2021.

NEC briefs President Bihi

The conclusion of voter registration in the country in which over one million and two hundred thousand citizens were issued with their voter cards culminates a four phase pronged exercise that commenced in November   2020 and ending in late March 2021.

The successfully concluded four phased biometric voter registration exercise commenced with the registration of new voters being the first followed by replacement of voter cards for past registered but lost their cards, change of voting centre/district or region and finally voter cards distribution.

Somaliland voter registration

There were 120 registration centres nationwide manned by highly trained NEC staffers who utilized modern tools more so as in relation to the biometric mode Somaliland employs in its elections.

Similarly polling stations have been increased in the 23 electoral districts from the 19 of 2017 presidential elections.

Apart from the voter registration NEC has also indicated commitment to a successful, timely and fair balloting process having completed the official list of candidates for the Somaliland’s first ever joint parliamentary and local council’s elections.

Somaliland: NEC Parliamentary and Local Councils Elections Readiness Roundup
NEC Chair Eng Riyo-rac fields questions at a SONSAF-facilitated Consultative Forum brainstorming the Impacts of the Covid19 & the Droughts on the Distribution of Voter Registration Cards

So far NEC has ratified and submitted as per law to parliament’s house of representatives the full list of 747 candidates in the local council elections and 246 vying for the 82 parliamentary seats at the national legislature.

And as of now NEC has already released official symbols and numbers of all candidates and by party running in the elections.

For the candidates running for the House of Representatives, the Commission has set up special signs for them, such as cars, elephants, sticks, mobile phones, etc. in which voters will identify them with.

Somaliland: NEC Parliamentary and Local Councils Elections Readiness Roundup

With the Somaliland constitution allowing only three national political parties at any given time, current ones of ruling Kulmiye and opposition UCID and Wadani helped in the process of submitting their lists of candidates for both parliamentary and local government.

Prior to this activity both the political parties and NEC signed the Elections Code of Conduct which has the objective of promoting conditions that   are   conducive   to free and   fair   elections and commits signatories to

  1. a) Tolerate to divergent political views based   on democracy
  2. b) Facilitate peaceful and free political electioneering and   open   public   debate; and
  3. c) respect for human

To advance its preparations NEC upon consultations with stakeholders set up and released its conditions for those aspiring as candidates in both the elections “the fulfilment of these conditions is now mandatory for one to qualify as a candidate NEC the action was also in pursuit of embracing the enforcement of the Electoral & Voter Registration Act, #91/2020” said NEC.

As it announced them as being


All candidates sponsored by each of the three political party’s must

  1. Possess a national Identity Card
  2. Be a registered Voter in the constituency (Region) he/she aspires to represent
  3. Aged 35 years and above
  4. A certificate of good health (sound mind)
  5. Secondary School education certificate
  6. Provide Certificate of good conduct
  7. Prove payment of 40m Somaliland shillings ($4700) non-refundable candidate fee from ministry of finance.
  8. Signatory of Elections Ethics Code
  9. Former civil servants and Security forces offices to provide resignation letter
  10. Fully filled application letter (All relevant documents attached)
Somaliland: NEC Parliamentary and Local Councils Elections Readiness Roundup


  1. Possess a national Identity Card
  2. Be a registered Voter in the local council (district) he/she aspires to represent
  3. Aged 32 years and above
  4. Be a tax payer in the council of candidacy
  5. Own property in the council of candidacy
  6. A certificate of good health (sound mind)
  7. University graduate for grade A council and secondary certificate for Grades B and C
  8. Provide Certificate of good conduct

With those aspiring for the local councils added with the extra onus of

  • Prove payment of 15 Somaliland shillings grade A council ($1750), Grade B 7m ($830) and Grade C 4m ($470) non-refundable candidate registration fee from ministry of finance.
  • Signatory to Elections Ethics Code
  • Former civil servants and Security forces offices to provide resignation letter
  • Fully filled application letter with all relevant documents attached.

And in pursuit of ensuring that all citizens eligible to vote are properly appraised on procedures and protocols the Electoral body in conjunction with partner Non State actors namely the Somaliland Journalist Association-SOLJA and Somaliland Non State Actors Forum-SONSAF have concluded sensitization activities.

NEC and political parties leaders sign election code of conduct

First NEC and members of the Somaliland Journalist Association signed the media elections code of conduct whose intent is facilitation and in lieu stringent penalties the factual, impartial and timely reporting of all campaign activities by the political parties of Kulmiye, UCID and Wadani as well as those related to NEC in the run-up, during and after the parliamentary and local council’s elections.

Another useful exercise was the participation of NEC at a SONSAF-facilitated Consultative Forum brainstorming the Impacts of the Covid19 & the Droughts on the Distribution of Voter Registration Cards nationwide. with citizen’s curios on the effects of the drought on elections the commissioners represented by their chairman fielded a very lively Q&A Session.

For the electoral body its guideline for elections preparation activities has been Article 22 (2) of the Somaliland Constitution which guarantees the rights of the citizens to vote and to be elected by fulfilling the conditions and requirements obliged by other state’s laws and regulations

Somaliland NEC commissioners take oath of office

NEC successes and achievements starkly contrast the make-belief, often anarchic situation in Somalia and the political turmoil born of unfulfilled resolutions, especially the electoral roadmap agreed upon by stakeholders on September 17, 2020, which was not fulfilled.

International Somalia partners who had neither spared cash support nor political backing is now left with a combination of aid and goodwill fatigue especially when the president whose term ended on February 8 that they supported is accusing them of interference and political meddling.

Currently the streets of Mogadishu is awash with militias aligned to the many political opponents of president Farmajo more so since his tenure was controversial extended for two years by the lower house of parliament.

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For Somalia which exists entirely on the largesse of foreign powers whose financial and military support ensures the Federal Government a semblance of authority in only main towns since the major part of the country is in the hands of Al-Shabaab, things are not ok.

Following the now illegal presidential tenure extension which was precluded by postponed elections of 8th February the international community among them main Somalia backers of US, UK, EU, UN, AU and regional block IGAD have all issued statements condemning the extension and threatening sanctions.

President Farmajo and Somalia elections

While none would condone misfortune for another, in perspective the Democratization tribulations in Somalia and the NEC success is Indeed a real step forward! For Somaliland

Though fierce opponents leaders of main Somaliland political parties of Wadani, Kulmiye and UCID are united in nation building-file photo