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Garowe (29th –October-2014) PDRC presented Puntland democratization opinion poll results to representatives of the Puntland civil society organizations (CSO) at a high level meeting held at PDRC conference hall today.

Key representatives from international and local organizations attending the dissemination workshop included UNSOM, PUNSAA, MAP as well as representatives from women and youth organizations and traditional leaders from all over Puntland.

Speaking at the dissemination workshop, acting PDRC Director explained the various levels of dissemination process of the report, which began with the presentation of the results to the Puntland executive branch of government and the Puntland parliament.

PDRC conducted a participatory polling exercise that collected the opinions and views of over 1,500 Puntlanders on the resumption of the democratization process. The respondents also made some recommendations. This pilot participatory polling exercise was carried out in March 2014.” said the acting director. “The results show that the people of Puntland are strongly committed to the resumption of Multi-party elections in Puntland State with 95% willing to vote during the upcoming elections.”

The acting PDRC director stated, “The objective of this meeting today is to disseminate poll results to civil society representatives to enhance awareness of the public’s opinion and garner support to advocate the timely implementation of the public views on a common platform”.

Members of the Puntland civil society received the poll results with great excitement and reiterated the poll recommendations for the early resumption of the democratization process. The CSOs testified their commitment through a unified declaration of commitment to the resumption of the democratization process in Puntland State, Somalia.

After several inquiries in a plenary with the PDRC research team, the civil society delegated a committee to draft their declaration of commitment, which also included an appeal that urged the Puntland government to accelerate the commissioning of the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) and the timely resumption of the democratization process.

The 3-point declaration from the civil society is translated as follows:

  1. Participants do hereby declare that the poll results of the democratization process conducted by PDRC are an important guideline for the resumption of the democratization process and the implementation of peaceful, free and fair elections in Puntland State of Somalia.
  2. The Puntland civil society calls upon the President of Puntland State Dr. Abdiweli Mahamed Ali (Gaas) and the mandated branches of government to accelerate the establishment of the electoral commission and the nomination of the members of the Puntland constitutional court as a prerequisite to the timely implementation of the democratization work plan.
  3. The Puntland civil society pledges and endeavors to play a vital role in the upcoming democratization efforts with the development of a clear plan of consensus based on the civil society’s democratization mandate, the plan will be presented upon the decreeing of the establishment of the Puntland Electoral Commission.

In July of 2013, the first ever democratic elections in Puntland State were suspended as a result of insecurity and violence in some constituencies. As a result, the suspended elections had forestalled the progressing of the democratization process. Respondents recommended a long-term rigorous civic education campaign and a capable electoral body and constitutional court as the major ingredients for a credible and viable transition to democratic elections.