My goal is not to return as Puntland’s President, says Said Abdullahi Deni, the incumbent head of the semi-autonomous state. Mr Deni has called upon the Mideeye party to actively support the ongoing electoral process, founded on the “one person, one vote” principle. His appeal follows the recent decision by the Mideeye to boycott this significant democratic advancement.
Garowe, Puntland, SOMALIA. By Jama:
On Saturday, Puntland’s President spoke at an event in Qardho, a city in the northeastern Bari region of Somalia. He urged the Mideeye political organisation not to miss the multi-party elections program. He also reassured everyone that Puntland is ready to hold free and fair elections, just as it happened with the local elections in May.
“I am calling upon the Mideeye party. Nine of us entered the local council elections. Mideyee, you have won over us. Come back to the elections; do not be afraid,” President Deni said.
He stressed that the only solution for Puntland is to complete the process of multi-party elections on the “one person, one vote” principle and to work towards a transparent rigging-less election.
“It is in our interest to strengthen the electoral system to prepare for the elections. My goal is not to return [as President], but to implement this program,” he emphasised.
Mideeye playing a political game?
Deni’s statement comes after the Mideeye party’s announcement that they would boycott the upcoming elections, preferring the old system. In Puntland, clan elders used to select the Members of Parliament, who then elected the President.
Earlier this month, Bossaso-based Mideeye condemned what they called “illegal actions” of the Puntland government. The party did not like that the Members of Parliament recently approved democratic amendments to Puntland’s Constitution. The party representatives also expressed concern about the delay in filing the case file they submitted earlier to the Supreme Court.
Their statement came as a surprise to some. While the party initially rejected the local May elections registration, they eventually joined and took part in them, effectively endorsing their legitimacy. Analysts point out that even now, the party might be just playing a game, intending to secure something in return for their eventual green light while receiving money from Mogadishu in the process.