Somalia’s Oil-Rich Puntland Region Set for Historic Elections

In a significant turnaround for Somalia’s oil-rich Puntland region, the country is set to hold its first democratic local elections since 1967 on Thursday.

This marks a notable development for the semi-autonomous state, which has long been associated with international piracy and security challenges in the Horn of Africa.

The upcoming elections will witness a contest between President Saed Abdullahi Deni’s KAAH party and candidates from six other political parties. Puntland’s electoral body has reported that over 400,000 individuals have registered to exercise their right to vote.

Chairperson at Transitional Puntland electoral commission (TPEC), Abdirisak A Said

Somalia, situated in the Horn of Africa, has experienced protracted conflict for more than three decades, leading to repeated delays in conducting democratic elections due to political disputes and security challenges.

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Despite Puntland’s potential wealth in oil and gas reserves, commercial extraction has been limited, with the majority of the region’s resources remaining untapped due to persistent violence.

International groups supporting the elections in Puntland, including the African Union and United Nations, said in a joint statement that the election “has the potential to inform and inspire the expansion of democracy across Somalia, at all levels of government.”

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