Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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The Potential Consequences of Delaying Puntland’s Presidential Election

By Ahmed Abdullahi Isse

As Puntland gets closer to the January 8, 2024, date of the anticipated the presidential election, state politicians are unable to reach a consensus agreement on the electoral processes. Two electoral models are currently being considered, either to return to a clan-based electoral system in which traditional elders select 66 MPs, or to switch to a direct election in which citizens choose who will represent them in a multiparty system.

Puntland local government elections, early elections, 2021

The scheduled election in Puntland on January 8, 2024. holds immense importance for the region’s political stability and democratic progress. However, if it were to be postponed, numerous potential consequences could arise, affecting both the region and its constituents. This article is a personal view intended to explore the potential consequences of postponing the election.

Political Instability:

Postponing the election in Puntland may lead to heightened political instability, uncertainties and tensions may rise, potentially triggering disputes among political factions. This instability could potentially result in civil unrest or even violence, endangering the safety and security of the region’s population.

Legitimacy of Leadership:

Delaying the election may result in extending the tenure of the current leaders without a clear mandate from the electorate. This lack of democratic legitimacy could undermine their authority and hinder decision-making processes. Furthermore, opposition parties and elite groups may form a parallel administration with the support of influential traditional elders in Puntland who feel excluded from the governmental structure and processes, potentially leading to societal splits and increasing political polarization.

Economic Implications:

Political instability and a lack of clear leadership arising from a postponed election could have significant economic implications for Puntland. Investors both Somalis and foreign may become hesitant to engage in business activities due to uncertainties about the political environment.

This could hinder local development, disrupt economic growth, and affect the job market, exacerbating existing social and economic challenges within the region.

International Reputation:

A deviation from the scheduled election date may damage Puntland’s international reputation as a promoter of democratic ideals in Somalia. The region has received international support and recognition for its commitment to democratic processes.

A potential failure to hold inclusive and agreed the election on time could ruin this image, leading to decreased foreign aid, funds and collaboration, as well as strained diplomatic relationships.

Erosion of Democracy:

Puntland prides itself on its commitment to democratic values. Delaying the election would undermine these principles, eroding citizens’ faith in inclusive electoral process. Such erosion of democracy may have long-term negative consequences as it weakens the legitimacy of local institutions and whole government.

Conclusion:

The potential consequences of delaying the scheduled election in Puntland on January 8, 2024, are manifold. Political instability, erosion of democracy, economic downturns, damaged international reputation, and legitimacy challenges to leadership are among the key ramifications that the region may face. To ensure a smooth transition of power, democratic principles, and sustained development, stakeholders should strive to uphold the election schedule and address any pre-existing challenges promptly.

Ahmed Abdullahi Isse 
Email: [email protected]
Garowe-Puntland Somalia.


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