Somaliland’s Opposition Reject Presidential Term Extension

Somaliland Opposition no Longer Recognises President Muse Bihi (News Central TV)

Opposition Political parties in Somaliland have independently stated that as of November 13, when Muse Bihi Abdi’s term as president of Somaliland would formally expire, they will no longer recognise him as such.

Political consensus has not been reached in previous discussions between the President and opposition leaders in Hargeisa.

At a separate press conference on Sunday, Waddani and the UCID presidential candidates charged that the President had turned down several delegations from academics, businessmen, and religious leaders. They emphasised that their parties would never support the President’s term being extended.

Prior to its November expiration on Sunday, the House of Elders in Somaliland, the country’s breakaway territory, has extended President Muse Bihi Abdi‘s current term by two years.

The chairman of Somaliland’s House of Elders, Saleeban Mahmoud Aden, reported that 72 members of parliament voted on Saturday to prolong Abdi’s term by “two years.” MP protested.

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The region’s electoral board announced last month that the presidential election scheduled for November had been postponed to 2023 due to, among other things, scheduling and financial difficulties.

Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi Irro, the presidential candidate for the Waddani Party, declared that he would not recognise the Senate’s decision since it was unlawful.

“We are telling the international community, which loves Somaliland’s unity and dialogue, that the elders’ decision is not based on the constitution and the rules of tradition,” Iro said.

The President of Somaliland would be responsible for any issues brought on by the Senate’s decision, he stressed, and they would do everything it took to make the administration hold the election.

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Faisal Ali Warabe, the UCID political party’s presidential candidate, stated at his news conference that the election could only be delayed in the event of insecurity or a drought.

“What the Senate decided yesterday was a scandal. It is not a law. The country is not experiencing extenuating circumstances, such as droughts and wars,” said Faisal.

He continued by saying that prior extensions had been discussed and argued by all parties involved, and he accused the President of extending his tenure unilaterally.

Opposition supporters began staging violent rallies in the area in August, demanding elections be held in November despite rumors the President wanted to put off the vote and keep his job.

In 2017, Muse Bihi Abdi was chosen to serve as the self-declared president of the Horn of Africa for a five-year term. The election was set for November 13, one month before his term is up.

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Former British protectorate Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, but it hasn’t received any international recognition. Somaliland has stayed comparatively quiet in comparison to Somalia, which has seen decades of civil conflict, political upheaval, and an insurgency.

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