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Somaliland Elections Could Provide Lessons For Somalia

Over the last two years the situation in Somalia has deteriorated into one of the world’s worst humanitarian and security crises. But a report by the International crisis Group says the international community is preoccupied with the piracy phenomenon – instead of concentrating on the core of the crisis, the need for a political settlement.

Meanwhile, the recent withdrawal of Ethiopian troops has opened up a new period of uncertainty and risk. In contrast, in the separatist republic of Somaliland, things are heating up toward a presidential election on March 29th.

Paula Roque is a researcher for the South Africa-based African security Analysis program. She told Nightline’s Akwei Thompson the upcoming election is part of the consolidation of democracy in Somaliland.

“Well, the election is very significant because it’s part of the consolidation and stability as well…she said.” And the election she said “stands in contrast at the statehood of a non-functioning government in south-central Somalia, comparatively two northern states.”

Roque said that in voting for a government, Somalia is re-affirming that it’s got a constituency and identity that is consolidated by a popular mandate.

The South African analyst said that a successful election in Somaliland would provide a lot of lessons for peace making at the grassroots level and at the consensus level in Somalia.

Roque said Somalia is at a critical point. The success of the Djibouti process is instrumental to peace and stability of Somalia and Djibouti and needs to continue being implemented, she said.