International Observers Arrive In Hargeisa Ahead Of Polls
International observers are hoping for a successful and peaceful Presidential elections in the breakaway region of Somaliland. The first members of a team of 60 international election observers arrived in Hargeisa on Friday ahead of the November 13 polls. The British government funded International Election Observation Mission (EOM) was invited by Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC). These is the third presidential election in Somaliland and the first poll to use a new voter registration system which itself marks the first use of iris-scan biometric technology in an African election. "The EOM is particularly hopeful that the implementation of the voter registration system will address issues that have marred previous elections, and looks forward to commencing its mission" a statement from the observers read. "Team co-ordinators will examine all aspects of the pre-election campaign, including access by political parties to locations for campaigning, the equality of access to the media, and the procedures that will be employed for the distribution of election materials, voting itself and the counting and tallying of ballots" it added. The full team is made up of observers from 24 countries. “This election will mark a milestone in Somaliland’s electoral development as it will be the first time that the incumbent has not challenged for the top job. As ever, there have been complex realignments in the positioning of different groups, and a peaceful and credible poll would represent a significant step forward in the consolidation of the representative democracy that has become such an impressive hallmark of Somaliland politics over the past 15 years" Dr Michael Walls of DPU, chief observer on the EOM said upon arrival.