Sunday, May 11, 2003

Court declares Somaliland's President winner of breakaway Somaliland's election
HARGEISA, 11 MAY 2003 (Reuters)--Somaliland's constitutional court on Sunday declared Dahir Rayale Kahin president of the breakway Somalia enclave for the next five years, following disputed April elections.

Somaliland, which declared independence in 1991 but is not recognised internationally after years of instability, held its first multi-party presidential election on April 14.
On April 19, incumbent Kahin was declared the winner by just 80 votes, but a major opposition party disputed the result.

After examining evidence from both parties, regional reports and the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the constitutional court said Kahin got 205,590 votes, 217 more than main opposition challenger Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo.

"We have seen differences between the regional reports and that of the NEC and as such based our ruling on the majority of votes from the regions," court chairman Said Farah told a court packed with officials, public and press.

Somaliland had hoped a fair, peaceful and democratic election could help it win international recognition.

In the years after declaring its independence, the central government in the Horn of Africa nation disintegrated and there was an explosion of factional fighting.

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