The head of the voter-registration process in Somalia’s separatist republic of Somaliland has been sacked, deepening an ongoing political crisis, Radio Garowe reports.
Mr. Ismail Muse Nur is a member of Somaliland’s election commission and has chaired the voter-registration process from the beginning.
In 2008, Mr. Nur apologized for misreporting on the number of registered voters in Awdal region, where he hails from along with Somaliland President Dahir Riyale.
In recent days, there has been growing dispute about why the server that counts registered voters was turned on in the absence of opposition parties and why there are major changes in voter demographics in different regions, our correspondent in Hargeisa reported.
The dispute worsened when Interpeace, the aid group facilitating donor funds for the voter-registration process, and the Somaliland election commission jointly issued the number of registered voters in different regions.
In Awdal region, for example, the number of registered voters from 2003 to 2008 increased by an astounding 67,000 more voters, while other regions like Togdheer recorded a lesser number of voters.
Somaliland’s election commission has been mired in internal dispute since it was first established, including changing the chairman numerous times.
Voter demographics plays a pivotal role in the Somaliland election, as different regions home to various clan-groups seek representation in the region’s government.
Meanwhile, the main opposition party Kulmiye continues to demand that Somaliland’s two house of Parliament appoint a caretaker government after the election commission delayed the March 29 presidential election to May 31.
Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.