The process of constitutionalizing democratic elections in Puntland began in 2008 under President Adde Muse’s through a draft constitution which was later adopted following a constituent assembly vote during President Farole’s administration. The draft constitution received an overwhelming acceptance in 2012 with 472 votes from 480 delegates. This resulted in the introduction of a multi-party system for the first time in Puntland’s history.
The government enacted the new electoral law that culminated in the establishment of Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission. The first democratic local council elections were then slated for July 2013 but just a day before the polls, there was violence in Qardho and Galkayo towns leaving at least three people dead and resulting in the indefinite postponement of the elections, which were to be the first democratic election in Puntland since 1969.
It is against this backdrop that this paper seeks to explore the perception and expectations of the citizens in Puntland towards this democratization process. Further, it seeks to identify the fundamental issues that need to be addressed prior to the commencement of this process and to provide a basis for public dialogue, which will ensure an evidence based policy making process.