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Puntland closes NIEC office in Garowe, orders state officials to cease engagement with the polls body

Puntland has closed the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) office in Garowe and ordered all district officials not to be involved in any activity related to the national polls body until ‘further notice.’

Puntland has closed the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) office in Garowe and ordered all district officials not to be involved in any activity related to the national polls body until ‘further notice.’

The state Interior Ministry notified Nugal governor in a letter dated February 6 that the office had been closed but did not specify the timelines for its reopening.

“All district and regional officials should cease any participation in activities related to the electoral commission,” the directive read in part in what is likely to worsen an already rocky relationship with the Federal Government in Mogadishu.

The directive comes barely a day after the U.S ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto called on leaders at the two levels of government to re-engage and commit themselves to ‘to defeat al-Shabaab and reestablish governance, security, and prosperity for all Somalis.’

Yamamoto warned the Somali leaders to ‘resist the temptation to act as spoilers, and avoid destabilizing the political process in any way.’

Puntland announced last October that all Federal MPs and Ministers would not be allowed to open any office within its area of jurisdiction ‘until there is agreement Federal Government and Federal Member States agree on a new electoral model for 2020 election.”

The Abdullahi Deni administration has also in the recent months dismissed the current electoral law passed by parliament last month noting it was not based on a consultative process.

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