IRI Co-hosts Panel on Democratization in Somaliland

Members of the Somaliland Diaspora community organized a convention September 8-10, 2006, in Arlington, VA.  The convention brought together government, civil society and academia representatives from Somaliland and the United States to discuss Somaliland as an emerging democracy.

During the convention, International Republican Institute (IRI) Regional Director for Africa, Stephanie Blanton, gave a presentation on the institute’s September 29, 2005, election assessment mission (PDF) of Somaliland’s legislative elections.

Blanton applauded Somaliland for its democratic achievements, specifically highlighting the country’s successful municipal, presidential and parliamentary elections.  Blanton also expressed the importance for Somaliland to have a registry of voters for future elections and urged political parties to focus their campaigns on issues rather than clan allegiances.

During the convention, IRI co-hosted a panel discussion on Somaliland’s democratization at its DC office.  The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Abdilaziz Mohamed Samale; former Foreign Minister, Edna Aden; Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Ahmed Haji Ali; and Chairman of the opposition Party of Justice and Welfare Faisal Ali Farah spoke about the region’s quest for internationally recognized statehood and its greatest needs for development assistance.

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