The two main opposition parties in the breakaway northern Somalia territory of Somaliland warned that they will not accept any attempt by the president to postpone the enclave’s upcoming parliamentary election which is scheduled to take place in March next year.
In recent weeks, there have been growing speculations in Somaliland that president Muse Bihi was planning to deliberately delay both the upcoming parliamentary and local council elections in a bid to favor the ruling party which continues to maintain majority in both the parliament and local council for over a decade.
“We are well aware of the ongoing plans to delay the election – therefore we have to declare that we shall hold the president solely accountable for any delays in the parliamentary election.” said Mohamed Ali, the flag-bearer of Wadani, one of the largest opposition parties in Somaliland at a press conference in the Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital Wednesday.
Meanwhile, opposition parties are also demanding from the president to disband the electoral commission which they accused of being heavily biased in favour of the ruling party and incumbent president, charges dismissed by the electoral officials.
“We have also submitted an official complaint letter regarding the election commission which is not credible and heavily influenced and thus not qualified to anchor an election to the president in March.” He said angrily, noting that failure by the president to follow through their complaint would otherwise prompt them to convene a national dialogue in which elders would have to decide about the matter.
In addition, leaders of UCID, Somaliland’s oldest opposition party have cautioned against what they termed as ‘political missteps’ by the president whom they accused of closing his eyes to the opposition parties’ proposals, in comments that echoed the other opposition officials who have strongly warned against possible election delays.
“Our current plan is to convene a national consultative conference to save Somaliland should the president continues to maintains this awkward political approach.” Abdinasir Buni, the deputy leader of the opposition party, UCID told reporters.
Despite several controversial extensions, the mandate of the current Somaliland’s parliament is due to end in March. Opposition parties that are seeking to challenge the ruling parties in holding the parliament’s majority now say they are determined to pressure the president to hold timely parliamentary elections.
Despite stiff opposition challenges that faded away later, subsequent mandate extensions by the current parliament over the years had allowed lawmakers to remain in power for over ten years. However, according to officials, the international community is also demanding holding timely parliamentary election, something that may add power to the voices of the opposition parties.