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Somalia: Under pressure Bihi embraces dialogue with opposition in Somaliland


HARGEISA, Somalia - Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has embraced dialogue with the opposition following the fallout over the much anticipated presidential polls, which comes almost over a year after the breakaway region successfully conducted parliamentary elections.

In 2021 parliamentary polls, Waddani and UCID defeated the ruling Kulmiye party, in the first-ever direct polls held in the region which is fighting for international recognition decades after separating from Somalia. But despite the breaking of the union, Somaliland remains part of Somalia.

On Tuesday, the opposition and government started direct talks after twelve politicians were released by authorities from Mandheera prison in Hargeisa. Muse Bihi has been accused by the opposition of plotting to delay the Nov 2022 presidential election.

Saleban Mohamud Adan, the chairman of the house of elders and the mediation committee, opened talks between the two parties on Wednesday, adding that negotiations will continue after Eid. Across Somalia, elders play a critical role in matters of mediation.

Wadani party presidential candidate Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi alias Irro said he will respect the outcome of the mediation committee. Irro was the chairman of Waddani party before resigning to concentrate on presidential polls.

However, Faisal Ali Warabe, the chairman of the UCID party, said that the matter should be settled through the Somaliland consultation process. Both parties have been putting pressure on Muse Bihi to allow the region to go to the polls.

"Set a time for us after Eid to save our country from trouble and terrify our adversaries. Let's stay together because, as usual, we used to reconcile in the last hour", added Faisal.

Bihi, a former Air Force commander before Somalia's army collapsed in the 90s, has been pushing for recognition of the region. Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud recently said he will open negotiations with Hargeisa to resolve Somaliland's greivinces.


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