On May 25, 2023, Puntland voters in 30 districts will participate in the first direct election of local councillors in 54 years. The majority of voters will be casting their ballot for the first time since 1969 when Somalia last held a democratic election under the civilian government.
The Local Council elections on May 25th are significant as they mark a shift from the traditional system to a multi-party election system. This means that voters will have the power to directly elect their representatives through a fair and credible process. Additionally, the election presents an opportunity for women and young people to participate in decision-making as both voters and candidates.
About The Electoral Commission
The Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) is responsible for overseeing
voter registration, political association registration, and the overall election process. TPEC is composed of nine commissioners, including a chairperson and vice-chairperson. Additionally, there is a secretariat led by a General Secretary, department heads, and officers at both regional and district levels.
The 2012 Puntland Constitution serves as the foundation for the electoral and multi-party systems. Several laws have been put in place to ensure fair elections, including.
- The Local Council Elections law,
- Political Parties/Association Law,
- Puntland Electoral Commission (PEC) Law,
- Voter Registration law.
These laws collectively provide the necessary legal framework to uphold the principles of equity and transparency in the electoral process.
The Puntland Local Government Election uses a proportional representation system with a modified closed-list system. Under this system, political associations establish their own voting zones, with one or more candidates representing each of these zones. For example, if a political association obtains two seats, the winning candidates will be those nominated in the zones where the association receives the most votes.
Registered voters and Polling stations
TPEC has registered over 387,000 voters, with women representing 49.7% of registered voters and youth (aged 18-30) making up 60.6% of the registered voters.
A total of 475 polling stations have been established across seven regions and 33 districts. Only three districts have postponed their elections. These polling stations will be open from 6 AM to 6 PM, allowing voters to cast their votes.
In this election, there are seven political associations vying for seats, with a total of 3775 candidates. Among these candidates, 1065 are women, representing 28.2% of the total. Additionally, there is a notable number of candidates under the age of 35.
Staff & Logistics
More than 2000 temporary workers were trained and deployed as poll workers, with each station having a team of four members to manage voting operations. Local observers and security officers will also be present to assist with the voting process.
To facilitate the transportation of election personnel and staff across 30 districts, TPEC has hired over 500 vehicles.
TPEC has established a state-of-art call centre to facilitate communication between TPEC and its field staff. Additionally, members of the public can also call the centre to obtain election-related information. During elections, the call centre is the primary point of contact for field staff, enabling them to seek assistance, ask questions, and report incidents. The call centre efficiently coordinates swift responses to ensure that all deployed staff promptly receive the support they require.
PUNSA and other CSO organisations will deploy 400 domestic observers to monitor activities on election day and promptly report any incidents. Furthermore, CSO has established an Election Situation Room (ESR) as a reporting hub for these observers to communicate any issues encountered. The presence of these election observers will contribute to a seamless election process, fostering free and fair outcomes.
Election Dispute adjudication process To guarantee the integrity of the electoral process, TPEC has established a dedicated dispute resolution committee to handle any disputes arising from the elections. In addition, Puntland has established a constitutional court to address electoral-related conflicts that cannot be resolved by the dispute resolution committee. These measures aim to ensure that any disputes are addressed fairly and in accordance with constitutional principles.