One of the most interesting and astonishing aspects of Somaliland is the political history: Still unrecognized and officially not acknowledged by most other countries in the world or the UNO, the region has undergone a considerable development over the last 30 years. From declaring independance in 1991 it has became a prime example of how regions can develop on their own, implement democratic structures and peace – without any involvement from outside.
The political system can be described as a hybrid between traditional Somali Clan-based institutions and Western democracy. This political process started in 1993, when, at first, a system based on traditional Clan-structures was set up, political interests being represented and discusses by the „elders“.
It was til 2001, when the system was slowly transformed into a modern party-system like in Western democracies; the basics were written down in a constitution that was accepted by the population. In the 2003 presidential election the first political parties were allowed and founded. They were not based on Clan membership, but had to fulfil certain requirements: For example, each party, in order to be allowed for elections, had to represent at least 20% of the Somaliland population. 3 parties fulfilled those requirements: UDUB, PUD and UCID.
The political climate can be described as very open and vibrant, most people are interested and well informed about Somaliland politics and politicals processes. The crrent system is accepted by most Somalilanders and they are proud of the level of peace and freedom they have in their home, and that distinguishes them from many other countries of Africa.
In the interview below, you can see and hear director Marlene Mayer and cinematographer Laurenz Korber talk about their experiences in Somaliland and what they have learned about politics when shooting the film. Subtitles in English are available!