Somaliland247's Blog

March 5, 2010

Finnish citizen running for president in Somaliland

Filed under: NEWS — somaliland247 @ 2:25 am

Reported By HELSINGIN SANOMAT NEWS:- Construction engineer Faisal Ali Farah, a naturalised Finnish citizen living in Espoo, is running for the office of President of Somaliland in elections scheduled for the coming autumn.
      Somaliland, which declared itself independent from the rest of Somalia in 1991, has taken gradual steps toward democracy. A referendum on a constitution was held in 2001, the first local elections were held in 2002, and a multiparty democracy was adopted in 2003, at which time the first presidential elections were held.
Officially, the President of Somaliland has a five-year term of office, but the term of the first holder of the office has been extended three times because of problems involving voter registration, suspicions of corruption on the election commission, and civil unrest.
      Somali-born Faisal Ali Farah says that if he is elected, he would invite Somalis living abroad to Somaliland for consultation. Faisal has studied political science at the University of Helsinki, and he identifies politically with the Social Democrats, while characterising himself as a technocrat.
Faisal has travelled around Europe and the United States to meet other expatriate Somalis. They are not entitled to vote in the elections of their home country unless they go there to register, but they have considerable influence on their compatriots.
      They also help finance election campaigns.
      Faisal hopes to form a broad-based government mainly comprising technocrats. Of the 18 portfolios in the government, he wants to give five to women, and is proposing a 20 per cent quota for women at various levels of administration. He also wants to amend parts of the constitution involving the rights of women and minorities.
      He also calls for better water systems, and wants to encourage the planting of trees on a food-for-pay basis.
Faisal Ali Farah was also a candidate in the 2003 elections, under the name Faisal Ali Warabe.
      Although it declared itself independent 19 years ago, Somaliland has not yet been officially recognised by the international community.

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