This article focuses on election system between Somaliland and United States of America. Somaliland country gained its independent from British Protectorate in 26th June, 1960. Somaliland first presidential election happened in 2003. On April 14, 2003 Somaliland held its first Presidential elections contested by three political parties. The Somaliland National Electoral Commission managed in four months successfully implement two free and fair elections (the Local Council Elections, in December 2002, and the Presidential elections, in April 2003).
Somaliland is in the first stage of Rostow Modernization theory (this is my opinion). It is in the traditional stage. “This initial stage of traditional society signifies a primitive society having no access to modern science and technology. In other words, it is a society based on primitive technology and primitive attitude towards the physical World. Thus, Rostow defines a traditional society “as one whose structure is developed within the limited production function based on pre-Newtonian science and technology and as pre-Newtonian attitudes towards the physical world” https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/economics/rostows-five-stages-of-growth-explained/38235
Time-line of Somaliland Elections
The following elections, referenda and voter registrations took place in Somaliland from 2001 – 2017
A chronology of key electoral events
31st December, 2001 constitutional referendum
15th December, 2002 first local council elections
14th April, 2003 first Presidential Election
29th September, 2005 first parliamentary elections
Oct – Mar 2008/9, first biometric voter registration (fingerprint)
26th June, 2010, second presidential election
28th November 2012, second local council elections
Jan – Sept 2016, second biometric voter registration (iris Biometric system)
17 November 2017 Third Presidential Election. (https://slnec.com/nec/elections-2/).
Ironically, Somaliland has passed through difficult times and challenges such as: Siyad Barre Regime genocide. Currently, Somaliland faces challenges such as: lack of international recognition, poverty, food insecurity, massive unemployment and among others. State-building takes long-process and cost. Since 1990 the collapse of Siyad Barre Regime, North-West side of Somalia (now Somaliland) was the first side that managed to bring peace, harmony, security and free and fair elections.
Somaliland beats America in terms of democracy in the essence that Somaliland citizens vote freely for presidents, vice-presidents, member of parliaments and local councilors. However on the other hand, in America only 538 electoral colleges determine the hope of 331,558,077 U.S population. This makes Somaliland to lead America in regard to democratic elections. Somaliland is attributed to the highest rates of gender inequality.
Mean-while, United States of America is the third highest population in the world. America ranks 19th in gender inequality in the World. “This country is in the fifth stage of Rostow Theory of Modernization Theory. It is in the stage of mass consumption. In this stage of development per capita income of country rises to such a high level that consumption basket of the people increases beyond food, clothing and shelters to articles of comforts and luxuries on a mass scale. Further, with progressive industrialization and urbanization of the economy values of people change in favour of more consumption of luxuries and high styles of living. New types of industries producing durable consumer goods come into existence which satisfies the wants for more consumption. These new industries producing durable consumer goods become the new leading sectors of economic growth” (https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/economics/rostows-five-stages-of-growth-explained/38235).
In 1778, United States of America had challenges with its constitution in regard to how to elect a president and vice-president, hence, it had been organized in a big conference where South-regions suggested that Congress men and women are supposed to elect the president and vice-president. This was challenged by the North-regions of the country whereby they suggested that the population is supposed to vote for the president and vice-president (like the case of Somaliland). After a long-hot-debate, it was agreed a compromise i.e. governors/chairman of provinces are supposed to choose electoral colleges. The congress consists of 535 electoral colleges (lower-house=435 members and 100 senators). The capital city of Washington D.C was given to 3 members hence making a total of 538 electoral colleges. Minnesota state is allocated to 10 electoral colleges (8=lower-house and 2 senators).
Each state is allocated a number of electors equal to the number of House and Senate seats each state has, ranging from the 3 for Wyoming to the 55 for California (these allocations are re-evaluated every ten years).
The candidate who wins over 270 Electoral College has to be elected for the president of the United States of America. For example, President Trump won over 270 Electoral College in his first term election in 2016. However, on the other hand, Hillary Clinton attained more 3 million population votes than President Trump.
In the light of the above, 538 electoral colleges cannot represent the desire of the 300 million and above population of America. Therefore, America needs to learn lessons from Somaliland Democracy.
Mohamed Mohamoud Omer;
Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant;