Somaliland:Dynamics of internal legitimacy and Lack of External Sovereignty
By Scott Pegg & Pål Kolsto
Despite its strong legal and historical claim s to sovereignty, the Republic of Somaliland remains entirely unrecognized by the international community more than 20 years after it proclaimed independence from Somalia in 1991. Paradoxically, Somaliland’s lack of external legitimacy has, in some ways, facilitated the growth and development of its internal legitimacy. In contrast, Somalia enjoys widespread external recognition from the international community but has very little domestic legitimacy and largely fails to govern effectively the territory it claims.
Somaliland’s high degree of domestic legitimacy and its strong desire for external recogni tion increasingly come into conﬂict with one another both in the eastern parts
of Somaliland and in the continued democratic development of its hybrid domestic political institutions.
The safest prediction for Somaliland is continued de facto statehood where its strong internal legitimacy enables it to survive in a hostile external environment but fa ils to translate into widespread sovereign recognition of its signiﬁcant domestic accomplishments. Ultimately, though, Somaliland’s ability to deliver the ‘‘goods’’ on economic development and poverty reduction for its citizens will be signiﬁcantly hampered without external recognition of its domestic achievements.