The self-declared state of Somaliland has elected a former air force pilot and rebel commander as its third president since breaking away from Somalia in 1991.
Somaliland, which is considered by the international community as a territory in Somalia, is known as a pocket of stability in the Horn of Africa. It’s held four peaceful elections, including presidential races in 2003 and 2010 as well as a parliamentary election in 2005. Despite more than two decades of diplomatic isolation, the territory of 4 million people has enjoyed stable economic growth, fueled by Somali diaspora returning to the region to invest, as well as investors from the Gulf.
This most recent poll, on Nov 14, was meant to bolster the territory’s bid for recognition from the international community. The breakaway state has its own army, currency, and government. Election officials bragged that on election day Somaliland used Africa’s most advanced anti-fraud techniques, iris recognition technology.
Local officials say that Somaliland’s unique government, a combination of indigenous governance embodied in a house of elders, and Western democratic institutions, is why it has enjoyed more stability than Somalia.