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Xaaji Xunjuf

The Somaliland people go to the ballot box on a historical day Pics

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Somaliland votes to bolster separatist aspirations Voters in Somaliland, a breakaway territory in northern Somalia, defied warnings from the Islamist Al Shabaab group by casting ballots in a presidential poll they hope will bolster their aspirations for a separate, internationally-recognised state.

By News Wires (text) AFP - The self-proclaimed state of Somaliland voted for a new president Saturday in a poll threatened by Islamist insurgents but seen by many voters as a stepping stone towards statehood.


The northern territory has been more stable than Somalia since it broke away in 1991 but a message warning voters to stay home by the leader of the Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab movement drew draconian security measures.


"All our country's forces are locking the borders. Movements and transport inside Somaliland are also forbidden except for those authorised by the national election commission (NEC)," police chief Mohamed Saqadi Dubad said.


Voting wrapped up at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) with no reports of any violence or fraud, said Abdulrahman Mohamoud, who was in charge of the largest polling station in Hargeisa.


Somaliland, which is more tribally homogenous than the rest of Somalia, has been striving for international recognition for almost two decades and many voters saw the election as a fresh opportunity to demonstrate their aspiring state's democratic credentials.


In the capital Hargeisa, queues started forming in the middle of the night, hours before polling stations opened, amid tight police and army scrutiny.


"I will travel to my polling station now and sleep there," said Ismail Maalin Mohamoud, a tailor, as he prepared to set off late Friday. "I want to vote for Kulmiye," he said.


Kulmiye, which won the largest number of seats in the latest parliamentary elections, is the party of Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo, seen as President Dahir Riyale Kahin's main rival in Saturday's poll.


The Justice and Welfare party is the country's third parliamentary force and its leader Faisal Ali Warabe the other top contestant.


Official results are not due for another week but a victor is expected to emerge over the next few days as partial results start trickling in.


Earlier this week, overall Shebab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, a native of Somaliland, issued an audio message warning the breakaway state's population that they would "face the consequences" if they cast their ballot.


"Do we say yes to Allah and accept his ruling or follow the infidels who want to lead us in the path of the evil?", Godane said.


Somaliland has strong ties with Shebab arch-foe Ethiopia.


The territory's unilateral secession from the rest of the country is also a challenge to the nationalistic vision of a unified Somalia essential to some of the Shebab's Somali leaders.


It also upsets the ideology held by Somalia's western-backed President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed who congratulated the people of Somaliland for their peaceful election in a radio broadcast but urged them to "keep the unity of Somalia in mind".


Saturday's vote has little direct impact on Somaliland's efforts to become independent but breaking away definitively from its troubled neighbour appeared to be the prime motivation for most of the voters queuing up at polling stations Saturday.


"I'm voting for the opposition Kulmiye party. If they are given the mandate to govern Somaliland, they may bring international recognition to our declaration of independence," said 21-year-old Nasir Mohamoud.


Mohamed Abdullahi Barud explained he was growing impatient with the world's reluctance to recognise Somaliland.


"Western countries are hypocrites and colonial-minded... They want to unite us with neighbouring Somalia but that would be like attempting to restore the Soviet Union," he said.


The responsibility to recognise Somaliland as a sovereign state is considered to be the African Union's but the continental body has been very wary of setting a precedent.

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Originally posted by Dhagax-Tuur:

I am not from this part of the country, but you can not imagine how proud I feel to see this happening in our country. Even though, the area and admin have their flaws, this is wonderful. Long may it continue.

I concur

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With all politics aside I think Somaliland should be a Trojan horse for Somalia hope...Somalis can learn a great deal about elections and respect for dissenting voice from Somaliland..What if Somalia conducted a free election today under the auspice of Somaliland authority? I know this sounds silly and far-fetched, but I think this election proofs one thing that Yes we us Somalis can organize a peaceful election..It would be hard to find genuine Somalis in both Somaliland and Somalia that will bring peace in greater Somalia.


It is fair to say, I think, that the future of our endangered Somali species is rested in Somaliland future...Some may disagree the suggestion that one day Somalia brothers and sisters will join together, but I think as long as Somaliland is peaceful and prosperous (and no recognition in sight) this will be advantage to greater Somalia.While the bullets tear through Mogadishu walls, the skyscrapers and schools will be emerging from Hargeysa..Something that will be beneficial to all Somalis when the dust of war settles..No doubt this dimension of thinking is beyond our realistic contemplation today, but think hard and support progress in every corner of Somalia..

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^You didn't really add anything new to the dimension of thinking that's prevailing in Somalia, just an appreciation of what is happening in S/alnd.



I think it’s fair to say that regardless of their political persuasions Somalis in general are contemplating what their potential could have been through the efforts Somalilanders have made and rightly so, after all, we are all one big family. However, what is needed is a change in the line of thinking that rests all hope on a particular type of political unity. The ball is in the their court and the southerners are the ones who should make this call and come up with a unique and practical idea where by Somaliland attains recognition and at the same time builds an unrivalled relationship with Somalia akin to that of the Gulf States or even better, the EU.



Failure to do so and the current situation would just continue with the real possibility of gaining recognition in spite of Somalia. There will be a lot of love lost in the process and the prospect of a lasting enmity that will be fuelled by the flash points along the border. In such an event, Ethiopia will surely be elevated to the status of an ally at the expense of southern Somalia and some noble causes that were once held dear will be lost in the realignment of the new interests.



You have to be a political romanticist to choose the latter and not have the foresight to realise that there is always more than one way of doing things.

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^^^I doubt if Somaliland recognition is a practical solution for the rest of Somalia.I think Somaliland has a fateful choice; it could become the paragon of hope for its brothers/sisters in the south or it could keep isolating itself and keep chasing the DREAM of recognition. Its more likely the citizens of that region will opt for the latter. It is fair to concede that there are some general flaws in Somaliland itself. There objection of greater Somalia unity on mere ground of having chaos and destruction in south Somalia is comforting to Somaliland citizens alone. The old Somalia mired in irrelevance and chaos has a lot of catch-up to do and that is why I was wrestling with idea of Somaliland maybe becoming the beacon of hope for greater Somalia. Looking for stupendous source of strategic power from Ethiopia is not going to help the cause of Somaliland.It would only widen the enemies of Somaliland...I will say this though acting within lunatic framework of chasing unreachable goal Somaliland has built an oasis of hope and resilience and for this they demand respect and admiration from all Somalis.An optimist like me may hope, perhaps realistically, that one day greater Somalia will unite and the center of control will be Hargeysa as by then the region has matured enough to lead a free and fair election..

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