Free and fair elections are indispensable in comforting the consent of the governed, which is the substratum of democratic politics. Elections assist by means of the principal mechanism for decoding that consent into governmental authority.
Democracy originated the term from the ancient Greece, which means ‘’rule by the people’’. This denotes that people choose their leaders to hold them accountable to their policies. In the democratic world, people decide and elect their representatives in parliament, they correspondingly decide to elect the Head of State at the national and local levels. By doing so in a democracy, there are contending political parties in place, they run elections to undertake political campaigns, which each and every political party wants to earn votes to win elections against other political parties. This is a system based on one man, one vote, where the People have absolute rights to vote who they want through or by means of free and fair elections.
In democracy, people have the highest rank of the political authority because they choose their leaders for a reason, although power flows to their leaders after the election. Leaders are temporarily elected by the people with this power, and if people are not satisfied when the term ends, they can easily change leaders peacefully, alternatively by voting other leaders. Each person, whether poor or rich has one vote to choose who he/she wants to be his/her leader or representative, this refers equality and freedom where everyone can exercise his rights freely, in order to secure impartiality and fairness. The election to be free and fair, they have to be administered in a fair and neutral professional body, this organisation must give equal treatment to all political parties, and their candidates during the election times.
Basics of Democratic Elections
Political Philosophers and other Social Researchers presented this definition: “Democratic elections are not merely symbolic. Because democracy allows everyone, to know and become informed about the public matters. This will allow every individual to perceive how politicians his/her representative is doing or using the powers that has been given to govern. On the other hand, Democracy empowers the existence of law and order, where people enjoy and live under the rule of law. By utilising the rule of law democracy also creates and encourages the governmental system of check and balance to copiously operate. This system was set in place to minimise the inaccuracies or improper behaviour within the organisations, or national institutions of the states. The check and balance will not allow that some of the departments, such as the executive organ of a state government control over decisions. And it fully prevents from individuals or departments having too much power over others, and it contrarily creates cooperation and progression of task development. This rule of law, play a vital role in the democratic system of governance, whether it is a public or private entity.
Therefore, to take delivery of the reimbursements of democracy, elections and party politics are the vital events of democracy. There are certain rules to keep democracy alive and kicking in order to deliver the chain of command, rule of law, good governance and accountability as well as the concept of transparency. Democratic Elections play the key role of this code of belief, and here are the first doctrines:-
- Competitive, the basics of an election campaign is to be enjoyed freedom of speech by the candidates of the opposition parties. This allows their voice of criticism to be heard, this vocal sound will also bring their alternative policies and the change they want to deliver to the voters. This will not necessarily important for the political campaign of the contestants, while the chief beneficiary will be the public voters by making their decisions about who to vote. Simply allowing the political parties to access ballot papers at the polling stations is not enough. The governing party should not enjoy the advantages of incumbency, the rules and regulations of the election contest must be free and fair. On the other hand, competitiveness and the freedom of democratic elections for the opposition parties does not infer mob rule or civil and rest. It is a fundamental principle of fairness, freedom and positive debate about who should run the state this term.
- Periodic, elections are periodic, it refers that democracy do not elect Presidents for life. There is no room in a democracy for dictators. In these terms, democracy requires brave politicians who are accountable to their people, who return to their voters to renew their mandate at prescribed intervals in order to continue in office. These politicians are ready to face the risk of being voted out of office on the second term. Extension of a second term is a cowardly act and undemocratic achievement for inadequate and looser political technique. It creates a lack of trust and instability to the politicians and nationals of a country, it will also violate the rule of law, declines the economic growth and generates civil and rest, which will result unnecessary coup d’état at the end.
- Inclusive, in a democracy the definition of a citizen and voter should be large enough to comprise the eligible adult population. This scenario is more to do with the Civil Registration that Somaliland has been arguing about its existence and technicalities. A government project of who is a citizen and who is not is nothing to do with the ending term of presidency. An election should be held at the Civil Registration falls the failure of an incumbent government. Inclusiveness of a democratic election means eligible voters should vote, this point toward as the Civil Registration is impossible to reach the entire eligible voters in such a period of time, the election should be held for the importance of peace and stability of the nation.
- Definitive, irregularities in democratic elections should be prevented. Voters must be allowed to cast their ballots in secret. And at the same time when counting votes and independent observation should be in place on the protection of the ballot box. An openness of counting, so that both the voters and contestants are confident about the accuracy of the results, the point is free and fair election is to be conducted by all stakeholders including international and local surveillance.
Democratic countries share a common obligation to its fundamental values. Political contestants do not essentially have to like each other, but they must stand one another and recognize that each has a legitimate and significant role to play. Furthermore, the ground rules of the Somaliland people must inspire broad-mindedness and politeness in public debate. Once the election is over, the political losers accept the decision of the electorates. If the incumbent president, representative or councilor be defeated, he turns over power peacefully.
No matter who wins or loses, together competing parties approve to collaborate in resolving the communal teething troubles of their society. The opposition never locks of hair to contribute in public life with the knowledge that, its role is indispensable in any democracy. Meanwhile, faithful is not to the exact policies of the government, but to the basic legitimacy of the state and to the democratization development itself. Democratic elections, after all, are not a contest for existence, but a race to serve and help a society of a country like Somaliland.
To Whom It May Concern:
The incumbent President of Somaliland won the votes of the vast majority of the general public in 2010. People fervently require a better change of the socioeconomic matters of their country as well as fixing the regional and international political ties to acknowledge the self-determination and independence of the people of Somaliland.
If that is the case, it is inexorable to practice our constitution and the future expectations of peaceful and recognized country. The peoples’ discernments towards Presidential and Parliamentary elections is indefinite, the incumbent regime should accept that their term is about to end. As people elected and honored, please payback by returning the constitutional powers to the electorates. It is likely to receive a reward of reelection. Somaliland is now on the path to persuade the outside world its right as an independent state, it is such a tragedy by any means that again elections, which is the only asset that backed the peace and development of this country to be delayed to linger unnecessary extension that can lead to this government to both lose the confidence and legitimacy of its people. An election, which is free and fair may result, trustworthy, ownership and fulfillment of promises. It is always part of the government responsibility to authenticate to skip out of extension period and push it forward to hold the election on time.
Mohamed Hagi Mohamoud a Political Scientist and a Social Researcher, and an author of Academic Articles in East Africa. Department of Political Science. The University of Warwick. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or M.Hagi-Mohamoud@warwick.ac.uk.