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Somaliland opposition no longer recognizes President Muse Bihi

Monday October 3, 2022

Waddani Party presidential candidate Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Irro

Hargeisa (HOL) - Somaliland political parties have separately announced that they no longer recognize Muse Bihi Abdi as President of Somaliland next month as his mandate will officially end on November 13.

Previous talks between the leaders of the opposition and the President in Hargeisa had failed to produce a political agreement.

Waddani and UCID Presidential candidates accused the President of rejecting various delegations from religious leaders, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals on Sunday at a separate press conference, emphasizing that their parties will never accept an extension of the President's term.

House of Elders in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland has extended President Muse Bihi Abdi's current term of office by two years before its November expiry on Sunday.

Saleeban Mahmoud Aden, Somaliland's House of Elders chairman, said 72 members of parliament voted on Saturday to extend Abdi's term by a "two-year period." One MP objected.

Last month, the region's electoral body said it had postponed November's presidential election due to 2023 because of time and financial constraints, among other reasons.

The Waddani Party's presidential candidate, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi Irro, stated that the Senate's decision was illegal and would not accept it.

"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.

He added that any problems arising from the Senate's decision would be the responsibility of Somaliland's President and that they would go to any length to force the government to hold the presidential election.

The Presidential candidate of the UCID political party, Faisal Ali Warabe, said at his press conference that the presidential election could only be postponed if there is insecurity or 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.

 Presidential candidate of the UCID political party, Faisal Ali Warabe and his supporters

He added that all stakeholders discussed and debated previous extensions and accused the President of carrying out his term extension without consultation.

In August, deadly protests by opposition supporters broke out in the region, with demonstrators demanding elections be held in November amid suspicions the President wanted to delay the poll and extend his term.

Muse Bihi Abdi was elected President of the self-proclaimed republic of the Horn of Africa on a five-year mandate in 2017, and the election was scheduled for November 13, a month before his term expires.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally. In contrast to Somalia, which has endured decades of civil war, political unrest, and an Islamist insurgency, Somaliland has remained relatively peaceful.


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