Monday, May 19, 2003

Kahin sworn in as Somaliland president

NAIROBI, 19 MAY 2003 (IRIN) - The president of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, was sworn in at a low-key ceremony in the capital, Hargeysa, on Friday, local sources told IRIN.

Kahin of the Unity of Democrats Party (UDUB), who had been the incumbent president, was last week confirmed as the winner of last month's disputed presidential election.

The swearing-in ceremony, conducted at the presidential palace, was attended by leaders of the House of Elders (GUURTI) and the House of Representatives, government ministers and other dignitaries, the sources said. The president and his deputy, Ahmad Yusuf Yasin, were sworn in by the president of the High Court.

Another source told IRIN that no-one from the opposition had attended the ceremony. The leadership of the main opposition party Kulmiye - which has rejected the election result - was said to be holding meetings "to consider their next step", an official of the party told IRIN on Monday.

"Kulimye will not go into coalition, nor will it congratulate UDUB," the official said, adding that the party would issue a statement "in due course".

A regional analyst, however, told IRIN that Kulmiye's only option was to reach some sort of arrangement with UDUB. "It is the only way to preserve the peace and stability Somaliland enjoys. No-one in Somaliland politics wants to be accused of undermining that," the analyst said.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 after the collapse of the Siyad Barre government, but has not been internationally recognised. Over the past decade, it has moved away from conflict, while the rest of Somalia has been locked in civil strife.


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