by Susan Stipanovich, Research Intern for Africa Expert & Senior Fellow Dr. Andre Le Sage
It is no secret that Somalia is a failed state. Having no sincerely functioning government since the outbreak of civil war in 1991, the region has been in a state of turmoil for nearly two decades. Called a ‘safe-haven for terrorists’, a ‘hotbed of crime and drug trafficking’, and a ‘breeding ground for pirates’, Somalia has earned a reputation as the Wild West of East Africa. However, in a small region in the north of Somalia, the Republic of Somaliland has just held what the international community has deemed free and fair elections, in which Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo, the leader of the Kulumiye Opposition Party carried a decisive victory over the incumbent, Dahir Riyale Kahin.
This was Somaliland’s second Presidential poll since the region declared its independence in 1991. Although Somaliland is not recognized by any international governments, its newly elected President holds hope that the prospect of Somaliland becoming international recognized will one day become a reality. Here, listen to him speak to BBC World Service about his victory and hopes for the future of Somaliland.