The democratization process in Somaliland continues to move forward showing signs of strength and stability. The people of Somaliland have, in the span of four months managed to successfully implement two back-to-back free and fair elections (the Local Council Elections in December 2002 and the Presidential elections in April 2003). The National Electoral Commission (NEC) of Somaliland, in conjunction with roles played by the civil society, the media, security, the political parties, the international community, and especially the people of Somaliland has during these two elections gained important experience and is now in a strategic position to solidly ground the democratization process in Somaliland through the up-coming presidential election.
The success of this upcoming election will be an important milestone in the Somaliland's march towards the creation of a democratic society. It will also demonstrate the deep commitment to change. While these elections are very important to the people of Somaliland, the elections will also demonstrate to the larger Somali region, the path that can be taken to democracy.
The transition from acute conflict to peace in the wider Somali region and the recovery process through political and social reconciliation will require further efforts from all those who are involved. Patience and sustained commitment is needed to build on the cross-cutting achievements of the process through trust building, dialogue on the substantive issues and constitutional and institution building by all the local stakeholders and the international/regional community, respectively. Somaliland has achieved a political, institutional and constitutional framework that sets a precedent for the wider Somali region.
Components of the Democratization pillar
The pillar which mainly focuses on the democratization process of Somaliland will monitor and document the democratization process in Somaliland. The pillar has been divided into three main components.
It is overwhelmingly agreed that the central element of a democratic institutions and legitimate government is to have a fair and free election. It is a tool in which a power can be transferred peacefully. It is the foundation of a responsible government which promotes and enhances the good governance in the democratic institutions. Therefore, without a fair and free election, popular democracy can be very fragile. It is from this background that this pillar has been tasked to research and closely monitor the electoral process in Somaliland.
The main objective is to promote free, fair and peaceful election.
• Working with key actors in order to make sure that the electoral process stays on its path
• Capturing the process in a report
• To understand the obstacles and challenges of the process
• To provide neutral space for the key stakeholders to discuss and debate contested issues
• To provide technical assistance to the National Electoral Commission
• To monitor the three phases of the electoral process.