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Politics of Somaliland

The politics of Somaliland take place within a hybrid system of governance, which, under the Somaliland region's constitution, combines traditional and western institutions. The constitution separates government into an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch, each of which functions independently from the others.[1]


For its first twelve years, Somaliland had no political parties but instead followed more traditional clan-based forms of political organization. Political parties were introduced during the presidential elections and it was hoped that the recent parliamentary elections would help to usher in a representative system without allowing representation to be overtly clan-based.

District elections then held determined which parties were allowed to contest the parliamentary and presidential elections, where a party was required to demonstrate at least twenty percent of the popular vote from four out of the six regions. This was designed to ensure that parties would not organize around ethnic lines. Three parties were selected to submit presidential candidates: the United Democratic Peoples’ Party (UDUB), Kulmiye, and the Party for Justice and Welfare (UCID). On April 14, 2003, 488,543[citation needed] voters participated in the presidential elections, which ran more or less smoothly. The result was a slim eighty vote controversial victory for UDUB over the Kulmiye, complicated by allegations of ballot stuffing against the incumbent UDUB. Despite calls for the Kulmiye to form a rival government, the party’s leadership did not do so, instead choosing to abide by the Supreme Court ruling that declared UDUB’s victory. Despite minor demonstrations, the transition to the presidency of Dahir Riyale Kahin proceeded peacefully. A traditional system of governance consisted of clan elders who go by titles such as sultans, guurti or akils. They usually ordered the paying of diya, which is a payment system for any grievances, or dealt in arbitration matters.[2]

System of governmentEdit

Somaliland has a hybrid system of governance combining traditional and western institutions. In a series of inter-clan conferences, culminating in the Borama Conference in 1993, a qabil (clan or community) system of government was constructed, which consisted of an Executive, with a President, Vice President, and legislative government; a bicameral Legislature; and an independent judiciary. The traditional Somali elderates (guurti) was incorporated into the governance structure and formed the upper house, responsible for managing internal conflicts. Government became in essence a "power-sharing coalition of Somaliland's main clans," with seats in the Upper and Lower houses proportionally allocated to clans according to a pre-determined formula. In 2002, after several extensions of this interim government, Somaliland finally made the transition to multi-party democracy, with district council elections contested by six parties.[citation needed]

Current situationEdit

Despite setbacks in 1994 and 1996, Somaliland has managed to prosper, assisted by its trade in livestock with Saudi Arabia. According to The Economist, it is east Africa’s strongest democracy.[3]

It faces some significant problems to its continued survival. Like other Somali governments, it lacks a consistent taxation base and receives most of its support from private actors. Corruption remains a problem, women are virtually unrepresented in government, and there are growing concerns about voting patterns based on ethnic lines as well as the majority that UDUB has gained over both the regional councils and presidency as well as the parliament.

Economic development has been heavily supported by the diaspora, lack of international recognition prevents international aid to it as a country.

International relationsEdit

In 2005 Somaliland joined the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), an international organization dedicated to the promotion of the right to self-determination. The UN still says there are some boundaries Somaliland will have to cross before it is recognized.


On March 1, 2006, the Welsh Assembly invited Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, the speaker of the Somaliland parliament to the opening of a new Assembly building. Mr. Abdillahi said that Somaliland sees his invitation "as a mark of recognition by the National Assembly for Wales that [Somaliland has] legitimacy." The Somali community in Wales numbers 8,000-10,000, most of whom come from Somaliland.

In December 2006 representatives of the Somaliland Parliament again attended the Welsh Assembly receiving a standing ovation from its members. Two months earlier the Assembly approved the establishment of an aid budget for Africa. These moves were approved by the UK Foreign Office and Department for International Development and are seen as an attempt by the UK to encourage and reward the authorities in its former colony while avoiding the issue of formal recognition.[4]

Executive BranchEdit

The House of Representatives in Hargeisa
Meeting hall, House of Representatives
Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Muse Bihi Abdi PUDP 13 December 2017

Legislative BranchEdit

The Parliament (Baarlamaanka) has two chambers. The House of Representatives (Golaha Wakiilada) has 82 members, elected for a five-year term. The House of Elders (Golaha Guurtida) has 82 members, representing traditional leaders.

Political parties and electionsEdit

Somaliland elects on national level a head of state (the president) and a legislature. The president is elected by the people for a five-year term.

2017 Presidential ElectionEdit

Originally scheduled for July 2015, the vote began on 13 November 2017.[5] On 21 November the NEC announced that Muse Bihi Abdi of the ruling Kulmiye party polled 55.1% of votes to emerge winner. His closest contender was Abdirahman Irro of the Waddani party who polled 40.7% with Faysal Ali Warabe finishing last with 4.2% of votes.[6]

Candidate Party Votes %
Muse Bihi Abdi Peace, Unity, and Development Party 305,909 55.10
Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Waddani 226,092 40.73
Faisal Ali Warabe For Justice and Development 23,141 4.17
Invalid/blank votes 10,475
Total 565,617 100
Registered voters/turnout 704,198 80.32
Source: SLNEC

By regionEdit

Region Bihi Abdullahi Warabe Invalid
Total Registered
Votes % Votes % Votes %
Awdal 38,454 48.05 40,959 51.18 617 0.77 1,406 81,436 102,571 79.39
Marodi-jeex 130,334 61.12 63,127 29.60 19,795 9.28 3,974 217,230 249,229 87.16
Sanaag 26,732 47.69 28,777 51.33 550 0.98 1,422 57,481 80,443 71.46
Saaxil 31,183 64.77 16,399 34.06 563 1.17 390 48,535 60,817 79.80
Sool 21,707 54.93 17,426 44.10 383 0.97 782 40,298 63,698 63.26
Togdheer 57,499 48.67 59,404 50.28 1,233 1.04 2,501 120,637 147,440 81.82
Total 305,909 55.10 226,092 40.73 23,141 4.17 10,475 565,617 704,198 80.32
Source: SLNEC

2010 Presidential ElectionEdit

The elections took place in June 2010 following a delay of two years. Opposition candidate Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo emerged victorious against the previously incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin.[7] According to international election observers, the polls were considered free and fair.[8]

2005 Parliamentary electionEdit

e • d Summary of the 28 September 2005 House of Representatives of Somaliland election results
Parties Votes % Seats
UDUB For Unity, Democracy, and Independence (Ururka dimuqraadiga ummadda bahawday) 261,449 39.0 33
KULMIYE Peace, Unity, and Development Party (KULMIYE Nabad, Midnimo iyo horumar) 228,328 34.1 28
UCID For Justice and Development (Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka) 180,545 26.9 21
Total 680,322 100.0 82
Invalid votes 4,585
Total votes cast 674,907
Source: IRI

2003 Presidential electionEdit

e • d Summary of the 14 April 2003 Somaliland presidential election results
Candidates - Nominating parties Votes %
Dahir Riyale Kahin - For Unity, Democracy, and Independence 205,595 42.08
Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo - Peace, Unity, and Development Party 205,515 42.07
Faysal Cali Warabe - For Justice and Development 77,433 15.85
Valid votes 488,543 98.0
Invalid votes 10,096 2.0
Total (Turnout ?%) 498,639 100.0
Source: African elections

Current CabinetEdit

The Council of Ministers run the day-to-day operations of the country. The cabinet is nominated by the president and the president has the authority to nominate, reshuffle and also dismiss the ministers. Ministers are approved by the House of Representatives which is the lower house of the Parliament. The cabinet is composed of ministers, deputy ministers and also state ministers. The number of ministers in Somaliland changes from time to time, as the cabinet is reshuffled. As of 9 August 2017, the cabinet consists of:[9]

  • Minister of Agriculture: Mahamed Aw Dahir Ibrahim
  • Minister of Civil Aviation: Mr. Farhan Ahmed Aadan
  • Minister of Commerce: Dr. Omar Shu'ayb
  • Minister of Defence: Mr. Mustafe Farah Abrar
  • Minister of Education & Higher Education: Md. Maxamed Xaaji Aadan Cilmi
  • Minister of Finance: Miss Zamzam Abdi Adan
  • Minister of Fisheries: Mr. Ali Jama Farah
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs: Dr. Sa´ad Ali Shire
  • Minister of Health: Dr. Salebaan Eise Ahmed
  • Minister of Industry: Shu'ayb Mohamed Muse
  • Minister of Information and Awareness: Md. Maxamed Axmed Aadan
  • Minister of Interior: Mr. Yasin Mohamoud Faraton
  • Minister of Investment and Development: Mohamed Ahmed Mohamoud Awad
  • Minister of Justice: Mr. Ahmed Farah Adarre
  • Minister of Labour and Social Development: Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Obsiiye
  • Minister of Livestock: Omar Mr. Abdi-rashid Mohamoud Hamud Ali
  • Minister of Planning & Development: Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim Aadan
  • Minister of Post and Telecommunications: Mr. Mohamoud Sheikh Abdulahi Ege
  • Minister of Presidency: Mr. Ahmed Hashi Abdi
  • Minister of Public Work, Housing, and Transportation: Mr. Liban Yusuf Osman
  • Minister of Religious Affairs: Sheikh Khalil Abdilahi Ahmed
  • Minister of Resettlement and Rehabilitation: Mr. Ali Said Raigal
  • Minister of Rural Development and Environment: Miss. Shukri Ismael Bandare
  • Minister of Sports and Youth: Mr. Abdirasaq Waberi Robleh
  • Minister of Mineral Resources And Energy: Mr. Hussein Abdi Dualeh
  • Minister of Water: Mr. Hussein Abdi Boos
  • Minister of Culture and Tourism: Mr. Kadar Hagi Yousuf Abdilahi

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Somaliland Government". The Somaliland Government. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  2. ^ World Disasters Report retrieved 25 February 2012
  3. ^ T.G. "Why Somaliland is east Africa's strongest democracy". The Economist. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Somaliland: Wales Strikes Out On Its Own In Its Recognition of Somaliland". Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. 6 March 2005.
  5. ^ Allison, Simon. "Two years behind schedule, Somaliland finally heads to the polls". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  6. ^ Somaliland ruling party candidate wins Nov. 13 polls – media reports AFrica News, 21 November 2017
  7. ^ "Opposition Leader Elected Somaliland President". VOA. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  8. ^ "Int'l observers say Somaliland presidential poll free, fair". Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  9. ^ "Somaliland Cabinet – Somaliland Official Government Website". Retrieved 2017-08-09.

External linksEdit