PUNSAA platform has sent a Civil Society Observation Team led by PUNSAA Chairman to the Parliament leadership (Speaker and his two deputies) election that was taken place in Garowe on 04/01/2019 and the Presidential election (President and his Deputy) that was also taken place in Garowe on 08/01/2019.
For the parliament leadership election there was 3 positions competed which was the speaker and his 2 deputies, for the speaker’s position there were 4 candidates competed namely:
- Abdihakin Mohamed Ahmed
- Abdirashid Mohamed Yusuf Jibril
- Abdijamal Osman Mohamed
- Abdirahman Ali Jibril
Parliament speaker election was followed by 3 rounds that led to the third round by Abdihakin Mohamed Ahmed, who won 43 votes and defeated Abdijamal Osman Mohamed, who received 23 votes. The result was announced by the Chairperson of the election committee, a member of the house of representative.
The election of the first deputy speaker has started, competing for 6 candidates, two of which were youth, the candidates were included former deputy chairman of the previous parliament Abdihamid Sheikh and other 5 candidates namely Jama Yasin, Abdiaziz Said, Abdiaziz Abdulahi, Abdirahman Hasan and Abdullahi Yusuf. This election was followed by 2 rounds led by Abdiaziz Abdulahi Osman who won 38 votes and defeated Abdiaziz Said who received 13 votes, while the second candidate who received 14 votes was renounced. The chairperson of the election commission announced results and confirmed that Abdiaziz Abdulahi, a young man has succeeded to the post of the first deputy speaker of the parliament.
The election of the second deputy speaker was taken place in a same day (04/01/2019) and 4 candidates were competed including the second deputy speaker of the previous parliament . This election was held 2 rounds and won by Ismail Mohamed Warsame in a 45 votes while Said Moalim Dahir and Abdirahman Diriye Arab received 14 and 7 votes respectively .
Parliament leadership election were peaceful and ended in a transparent and independent manner. All defeated candidates were accepted the result of the election, no complaints have been made in the voting process, counting and combining of the votes.
On January 6, 2019, the electoral commission for the presidential election announced the lists of 21 candidates and 11 candidates who complied with the provisions of article 78 of Puntland constitution who competes for the posts of Puntland President and his deputy.
On the morning of January 7, 2019, all candidates were given an opportunity to talk to the House of Representatives to buy their political plans. Each candidate was given a 10 minutes to deliver his speech..
On January 8, 2019 the presidential election was held in Garowe and 21 candidates were competed for the post of the president while 11 candidates were also competed for the post of the vice president. The electoral commission has signed each candidate before the ballot starts, paper specifying that each candidate will accept the result of the election.
The President’s election, which was voted by 66 lawmakers in Puntland, was followed by 3 rounds, finally Said Abdullahi Deni won with 35 votes whereby Asad Osman Abdullahi received 31 votes, there were no votes lost.
The Vice President’s election, which was voted by 66 representatives was also followed by 3 rounds and finally Ahmed Elmi Osman Karaash won with 47 votes whereby Abdi Ibrahim Qowdhan received only 19 votes.
After the election, all candidates are satisfied with the election results, no complaints have been made in the voting process, counting and combining of the votes. The newly elected president Said Abdullahi Deni and his deputy Ahmed Elmi Osman Karaash were sworn by a member from Puntland Supreme Court..
The Findings of the Observation Team :
- Generally the election has been peaceful, and there were no reports of mismanagements.
- The election of the Parliament Leadership, President and his Deputy happened in a transparent manner, the electoral commission has set up a sites where the voters can vote in private and confidential. The ballot papers were placed in a transparent box with visible holes and closed.
- The electoral commission rejected the MPs to enter the polling center with mobile phones or cameras which may make it easier to take a picture of the ballot paper, to confirm one of the candidates that he voted for.
- The electoral commission were knowledgeable and fully prepared for the electoral process, all electoral materials were ready inside the polling station, including the ballot papers that are never gone . Each round of election is used for different color paper, to avoid suspicion and irregularities.
- In order not to vote twice the MPs were calling their names in a alphabetic order, and was corrected on the general list of MPs, he/she then took over the ballot paper stamped by the election commission chairman.
- There was occasionally that MPs were lobbying among themselves during the election period though the electoral commission were against that action.
- Observers were told that there was a lot of money paid by the candidates of the Parliament leadership, President and the Vice President positions, although observers do not see their eyes, then part of the candidates confirmed that they paid money to get elected. According to the information from reliable persons refused to share their names, provided funds were mainly received from Puntland authority, Somalia Federal Government, United Arab Emirates and business people looking for contracts. Observers confirmed that information after they saw messages from one of the presidential candidates who sent a number of lawmakers asking them to repay the money they received since they did not vote for him.
- During this election there were no cruel talks and criticisms aired through the media, and there have been no presidential candidates complained about the general election process.
- At the end of each election votes were counting in front of the stakeholders and no more votes were cast during this election.
CSO election observers led by PUNSAA chairman confirms that the election was transparent, in accordance with international election procedures. Observers propose to implement the multi-party system and move away from the selection process. The observers are also suggesting to enact laws regulating campaign financing to prevent that the corruption can affect voting and electoral process.