|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
|Norwegian Observers Expected to Issue Comprehensive Report|
Hargeisa (SL Times) - Mrs. Beret Lindeman and Mr. Stig J. Hansen, two Norwegian nationals who came to Somaliland about 3 weeks ago to observe this countryís presidential elections, the first since regaining independence in 1991, left Hargeisa yesterday after successfully concluding their mission.
The two Norwegians were among a contingent of 35 international observers who arrived in Somaliland to monitor the April 14, 2003 presidential election which was contested by UDUB party leader and incumbent Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin, KULMIYE party candidate Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud "Silanyo", and UCID party chairman, Faysal Ali Warabe.
Somalilandís National Electoral Commission announced on April 19 that Mr. Dahir Rayale won the poll, beating his closest rival, Ahmed Sillanyo, by a mere 80 votes. KULMIYE has since rejected the result, claiming it was ahead of UDUB by 76 votes.
Among the 15 countries that sent observers, South Africa, current Chairman of the African Union, fielded the largest mission. Preliminary reports released by international observers had described the election as peaceful, orderly and transparent.
However, only Beret and Stig Hansen had stayed long enough in Somaliland to witness the announcement of the preliminary results and the post-election dispute, which they were understood to have thoroughly investigated.
Lindeman, a veteran election observer who is a lawyer by profession and Stig Hansen, a political scientist, were in Hargeisa when KULMIYE dramatically challenged accuracy of election results for the district of Buroa and Gar-Adag area, and claimed it actually won the election.
After witnessing the last days of election campaign and returning from Dilla, Awdal region, where they had observed the voting during the election day, the Norwegian observers went on a extensive examination of how the exercise was conducted, going to places like Buroa, Togdheer, for further investigation. They were expected to issue the most comprehensive report on Somalilandís second election experience under the newly introduced multi-party system.
During their stay, the two observers also met with Somaliland Human Rights defenders, and leaders of civic groups and political parties including President Dahir Rayale Kahin. Their mission was sponsored by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. Norwegian citizens of Somaliland origin are estimated to be several thousands.