Hargeisa (Somalia): Voters in Somaliland queued for hours and thronged polling stations on Saturday for the second presidential election held in the self-declared republic, in a peaceful exercise in governance not seen for decades in the country`s anarchic south.
Voters and candidates said they hope this vote will award
Somaliland the international recognition it seeks. The three
men vying to become president of the region have all promised
to seek international recognition for the autonomous region.
"The election is very crucial for the future of
Somaliland," said President Dahir Riyale Kahin as he voted
Saturday morning. "It a bridge to a long-awaited international
Today`s election also coincides with the 50-year
anniversary of independence for Somaliland, a former British
protectorate. The province was only independent for five days
before joining Somalia on July 1, 1960.
Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991
and has been a haven of relative peace in northwest Somalia as
southern Somalia has degenerated into chaos and anarchy. The
region has its own security and police forces, justice system
and currency, but is not recognised by any other state.
All three candidates, who include Kahin, Ahmed Mohamud
Silanyo and Feysal Ali Warabe, have also promised to maintain
the region`s security and economic development.
Residents also said they hope the vote will win more
respect for the region and maintain the peace that has eluded
southern Somalia since the 1991 ouster of longtime dictator
Mohamed Siad Barre by warlords.