Muse Bihi's Kulmiye on the brink of winning Somaliland's local polls
HARGEISA, Somalia - The ruling Kulmiye party is on the verge of winning the majority in Somaliland's parliamentary and civic polls, based on the results released by the region's Elections Commission [NEC].
At least 1 million voters got a chance for the first time in history to vote for their leaders in the secessionist region of Somaliland, which declared self-independence from Somalia in 1991 but yet gained any international recognization.
Although the NEC had indicated that by Tuesday evening most of the results from Monday's polls may have trickled in, counting continued for the most part of Wednesday as the commission released preliminary results.
Just as expected, President Muse Bihi Abdi's Kulmiye party extended the lead by scooping 37 parliamentary seats of 61 which had been released. The opposition Waddani party of Abdirahman Irro managed 21 while the Ucid party got only 3 seats.
The region has a total of 82 constituencies and 212 civic regions where the ruling party is still dominant. This means that the ruling party is just four  seats shy of having absolute control of the House of People.
Somaliland held the parliamentary elections in 2005 and since then they have faced unprecedented postponement just like civic polls which were held in 2012. At that time, the region still practiced the clan-based model, but it has since embraced universal suffrage.
According to an election expert in Somaliland who spoke to Garowe Online, the ruling party always strives to win local councils in Hargeisa, Berbera, and Gabiley districts. These districts are important in the administration of the region.
The ruling party Kulmiye has already won the Berbera district council election after the Somaliland Electoral Commission announced the results. Barbera's local council has 13 members and Kulmiye managed seven with UCID coming second with four seats.
Also, the Kulmiye party was ahead in Hudun-Sool, Gar-adag-Sanag, Teleeh-Sool, and Lughaye-Awdal. All the parties campaigned vigorously in Somaliland with Muse Bihi Abdi making an appearance in a number of towns within the autonomous region of Somalia.
Muse Bihi Abdi was first elected in 2017 and it's not clear if he will defend his seat in the coming months. The elections come few days after the federal government of Somalia and opposition leaders signed an agreement that would among others, steer reconciliation between Hargeisa and Mogadishu.