After breaking away from Somalia in 1991, the self-declared state Somaliland went to the polls for the third time since their independence to elect their new president. Three candidates were competing to replace President Ahmed Mohamed (Silanyo), who opted not to seek re-election: Muse Bihi Abdi of the ruling Kulmiye party, Faysal Ali Warabe of UCID and Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi of the Waddani party. Results of the 13 November elections, certified as free and fair by a team of 60 international observers, announced ruling part candidate Muse Bihi Abdi as the new president of Somaliland with 55 percent of the vote.
Day-after-day, I closely followed the election campaign until the most awaited announcement, capturing historical moments on the streets, in polling stations, and rallies, as well as in meetings of the three political parties in course.
It was moments worth sharing: people’s hopefulness and their unique expressions, street parties, youth and women’s engagement in the process, mothers running neighborhood offices for political parties, being at the core of community organization.
I was trying to share a colorful and bright inspiring side of this part of the world.
I’ve been following the elections and its preparations since 2016. I was able to go out and capture the registration, the campaigning and the general atmosphere; people sticking posters and stickers on cars, roaming the city with big speakers telling people through microphones to go out to the nearest voter registration spots.
And coming to 2017 and the elections, it was cheering to see people celebrating and going out while chanting different songs supporting the candidates, or women with drums dancing in circles in those different locations where rallies were happening. Each day, one party was allowed to campaign and go out for rallies, tons of people outside wearing different things representing their parties, colorful scenes throughout the city.