Somalilanders line up to vote. (Taiwan Representative Office in Somaliland photo)
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s envoy to Somaliland, Allen C. Lou (羅震華), on Monday (May 31) congratulated the East African nation for successfully holding its first elections since 2005.
This landmark event was a two-in-one parliamentary and local government election that saw 1.06 million registered voters and a total of 798 candidates.
Lou pointed out that Somalilanders were so eager to cast their votes that they lined outside voting stations before sunrise. Everyone followed the instructions of staff and entered stations in an orderly manner. Party representatives, non-governmental organizations, international friends, and the media were present to observe the election, Liberty Times reported.
The Taiwanese diplomat said in a tweet, “It is impressive to go to the polling station to see the Somaliland people to vote for peace,” adding that people’s eyes were filled with joy and hope.
Luo also said that the fact Somaliland can still successfully hold fair, just, and open elections despite being in a politically tumultuous region is admirable and fully demonstrates the country’s determination to develop and consolidate its democratic system.
Just days before this particular election, Taiwan donated 2500 sets of Iris Biometric Voter Verification Systems (IBVVS) to complement Somaliland’s existing biometric systems to prevent voter fraud. Somaliland was the first country in the world to use IBVVS technology during its 2017 presidential election.