UN Envoy for Somalia concludes visit in Puntland
Mogadishu, 22 November 2013 – The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Nicholas Kay concluded today a three-day visit in the Federal State of Puntland with stops in the cities of Garowe, Galkayo and Bosasso ahead of the Puntland Parliamentary selection process in December and the Presidential elections scheduled to take place 8 January 2014.
Mr. Kay met Puntland President and presidential candidate Abdirahman Mohamud Farole, as well as several presidential candidates, traditional leaders and members of the civil society including women’s groups.
“Overall I heard that the electoral process is on track. I was impressed by everyone’s commitment to ensuring peaceful, fair and transparent elections. But one or two items still need to be addressed to achieve results which will be credible for everyone” said SRSG Kay.
“Traditional leaders, candidates and civil society welcomed the President’s intention to consult before nominating the members of the vetting committee (known as the Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Committee). They underlined the importance of such consultation,” said SRSG Kay, “Many I met, including the President, also shared my deep concern about the low number of women in the last Parliament and stressed the importance of having at least one female Member of Parliament per each of the five original regions this time.”
SRSG Kay was briefed by General Said Dheere, who is responsible for security for the elections. Candidates expressed their confidence in his leadership and commitment to providing appropriate security arrangements for each candidate. SRSG Kay called on all candidates to campaign responsibly and make their own contribution to ensuring elections were peaceful. He further noted that “it is important that as candidates move to Garowe, security arrangements are satisfactory for everybody.”
Mr Kay highlighted the role of the media in reporting the campaign responsibly and independently. “Every candidate should have the opportunity to access the media, including State-owned media. Journalists should continue to be free to cover the electoral process as they are now,” SRSG Kay said.
“The United Nations will follow the election process closely and make every effort to encourage and support a free, fair and peaceful process,” he concluded.