Working within a narrow band of effectiveness: international election observation in Somaliland
Michael Walls (UCL)
Paper short abstract:
In many respects, Somaliland has established an impressive electoral record, with international observation missions attending each major post-2001 electoral event. This paper interrogates the purpose, effect and scope of these missions, with reference to elections in 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2017.
Paper long abstract:
Since a constitutional referendum in 2001, Somaliland has established an impressive electoral record, holding parliamentary (lower house), local council and presidential elections periodically between 2002 and 2017. International observation missions have been invited to attend each major electoral event, and have generally been well received. However, as the political space has become more hotly contested, so hard the role of international observers and the missions they participate in. In 2017 presidential elections, in particular, the political environment became heated in the election aftermath, and all the bodies associated with the election became targets for criticism. This paper interrogates the purpose, effect and scope of international election observation missions in Somaliland, with particular reference to those in 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2017. It will explore the space available for international observation missions to engage constructively with local political realities, and reflects on the contribution that can be made in an increasingly polarised political space.
Election observation in Africa