Somalia’s self-declared sovereign state held its first parliamentary elections since 2005 and the municipal elections that are four years late on Monday.
The parliamentary elections were delayed by a dispute among the three major parties over the composition of the electoral commission.
Politicians have described the elections in the self-declared republic as evidence of its comparative stability.
More than one million of Somaliland’s four million people are registered to vote.
30 years ago, Somaliland broke away from Somali, but has not been internationally recognised as a country for its independence. But, it has maintained its own independent government, currency and security system, while the rest of Somalia has suffered three decades of civil war.
“Vote in peace,” President Musi Bihi said in televised remarks after casting his ballot. Opposition leader, Abdirahmaan Mohamed Abdulahi, echoed the sentiment: “I urge the Somaliland people to vote in peace and calmly.”
“Three major parties have put forward 246 candidates for 82 seats and more than one million out of roughly four million residents have registered to vote,” the National Electoral Commission said.
The rest of Somalia is due to hold indirect polls within 60 days.