Somalia: UN Envoy Calls for Credible Electoral Process in Puntland

The top United Nations official in Somalia has renewed his call for a timely and credible political process that should lead to a new Puntland parliament this year and regional presidential elections next month."As the election draws closer and political temperatures become more heated, I call on all candidates and stakeholders, in particular the traditional titled elders, to work jointly and be prepared, at times, to strike difficult compromises," said the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Nicholas Kay.

"UNSOM has supported mediation and consultation efforts throughout the process and I remain hopeful that all candidates are committed to a peaceful and credible election."

The semi-autonomous region of Puntland is in the midst of an electoral process that should lead to a new parliament this year and presidential elections on 8 January.

Mr. Kay, who paid a visit to Puntland last month ahead of the elections, encouraged all stakeholders to fully cooperate with the Commander of the Puntland Darwish Force, General Said Mohamed Hersi Dheere, who is responsible for security for the elections, and urged all candidates to campaign responsibly in support of a peaceful election.

He further stressed that all presidential candidates should be assured freedom of movement, association and security, and should enjoy equal access to media.

"I will continue to follow events closely and make every effort to assist Puntland to have a free, fair, inclusive and peaceful process," he added.

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