Somaliland at the Crossroads Protecting a Fragile Stability

The first section of this report examines Somaliland’s political landscape ahead of the next presidential elections. It is looking at weaknesses in the political system and potential areas of instability. Most pressing is the territory’s failure to organize timeous elections – both for its parliament, which has been sitting unchanged since 2005, and for its presidency. Presidential elections scheduled for June 2015 have been delayed indefinitely, with some critics arguing that President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo is unconstitutionally extending his term in office. Questions is raised about the ruling party’s intentions, and tests popular trust in the democratic process. The second looks at internal threats to Somaliland’s stability; destabilising factors that may be exacerbated during times of political change, such as elections. Most serious here is the frustration building at Somaliland’s failure to be recognized as a state, or attain any kind of formal acknowledgment of its de facto sovereignty over its claimed borders. This is still the Somaliland government’s main goal, and the quest for recognition has played a major role in unifying the country. What happens when Somaliland’s patience runs out? Finally, the report will assess external threats to Somaliland’s stability, such as the squabbles with neighbouring Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, over portions of Sool and Sanaag provinces, which manifest in the form of occasional incursions by both sides and low-level military skirmishes; and Somalia’s unwillingness to consider a formal break-up of the state.