Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Somaliland's opposition party accepts election result
NAIROBI, 11 JUNE 2003 (IRIN) - The main opposition party in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, northwestern Somalia, says it now recognises the legitimacy of disputed April elections. The Kulmiye party's presidential candidate, Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo, told IRIN on Wednesday that "after the intervention of elders and others, we have decided as a party to accept the results".

Silanyo had rejected the result of the election in which incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the Unity of Democrats Party (UDUB), was declared the winner. Silanyo at the time told IRIN that his party "categorically rejected" the results of the 14 April poll.

On 19 April, the Somaliland Election Commission (SEC) declared Kahin the winner of Somaliland's first multiparty presidential election. The SEC's decision was later confirmed by the constitutional court.

Silanyo maintained that "there was a lot of injustice in the election process, but we decided to accept the results in the interest of the people". He said that Kulmiye was ready for talks with UDUB and the government, but declined to say when such talks were likely to start.

Several sources, however, told IRIN that Kulmiye's acceptance of the election results followed "intense pressure from elders and other local and business leaders". UDUB has also reportedly agreed to discuss "Kulmiye's concerns", one of the sources said. MORE

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