Somaliland holds 1st combined parliamentary, local elections

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International observers, including several African nations, monitoring long-awaited polls

Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland is holding its long-awaited parliamentary and local elections on Monday.

The parliamentary elections are being held more than a decade late, whereas the municipal elections should have taken place four years ago.

More than one million of the region’s four million people are registered to vote in the elections.

While 246 candidates are running for 82 parliamentary seats, 966 candidates are competing for 249 district municipality offices.

Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, leader of the opposition Wadani party Abdirahman Irro, and leader of Ucid party Feysal Ali Warabe have already cast their votes.

“This morning, I cast my vote in the country’s first combined Parliamentary & Local Council Elections at a polling station in the Civil Service Commission in Hargeisa. Somaliland votes for peace. It is an honour for our people and the Horn of Africa,” the president tweeted.

International observers, including several African nations and international organizations, are monitoring the elections.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate in northwestern Somalia, declared independence in 1991 from the rest of the Horn of Africa country after the collapse of Siad Barre’s military government.

More than three decades later, no country has recognized the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland as an independent state.