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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 April, 2003, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Somaliland leader wins poll
Dahir Riyale Kahin
Margin of victory was just 80 votes
Results from presidential elections in the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland - the first since it broke away from Somalia 12 years ago - show a narrow win for the current leader, Dahir Riyale Kahin.

The National Electoral Commission announced on Saturday that Mr Kahin had defeated his closest rival, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, by just 80 votes. The third candidate was Faisal Ali Warabe.

Commission chairman, Ahmad Haji Ali Adami, urged the losing parties to accept the result.

"There is no other asset that Somaliland can rely on than peace and, as such, I would like every candidate, whether defeated or not, to respect the result of the elections," he said.

But it is not clear whether Mr Silanyo will accept the result.

He has accused the president of exploiting his powers to manipulate the electoral process, including allowing residents of neighboring Djibouti into the country to vote.

Officials of Mr Kahin's party, the Unity of Democrats (UDUB), said he won most of the votes in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, while the opposition took the majority in the western Burco area.

Independence claims

The relatively stable area of Somaliland announced its secession from Somalia in 1991, as the rest of the country descended into anarchy.

President Kahin took office last year, following the death of the long-standing leader of the breakaway republic, Mohamed Egal.

He has promised to introduce greater democracy and to fight for international recognition of Somaliland.

The vote, nearly a week ago, was reported to have been largely trouble-free and fair, although there was no voting in three eastern districts.

A South African team which monitored the voting, has said the process was peaceful, orderly and transparent.

Somaliland's administration relies on revenue generated at the port of Berbera on the Gulf of Aden, and depends heavily on aid agencies for development and rehabilitation funds.

BBC's Robert Walker on Focus on Africa
"It is the beginning of democracy"

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15 Apr 03  |  Africa
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31 May 01  |  Africa
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03 May 02  |  Africa
Somaliland leader buried
06 May 02  |  Africa


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