Monday, April 14, 2003

Voting underway in Somaliland's presidential poll
NAIROBI, 14 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - Voters in the self-declared republic of Somaliland started casting their ballots in the breakaway region's first multi-party presidential elections on Monday.

The chairman of Somaliland's Electoral Commission Ahmed Haji Ali "Adami" told IRIN that voting was proceeding "very well" and there was a high turnout. Over a million Somalilanders are eligible to vote.

"Voting is very normal and very peaceful," he said.

He admitted however that there were problems in the disputed regions of Sool and Sanaag, where voting was proceeding normally in some districts, but in others "it is not going very well because of security reasons".

The two districts fall geographically within Somaliland, but most of the clans are associated with the neighbouring self-declared autonomous region of Puntland. The Puntland authorities have warned that they will not allow elections to go ahead in these districts.

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