Somaliland is a self-declared state with international recognition as an autonomous region of Somalia. As the Somaliland Local Government Elections scheduled for November 2012 approached, insight into the views and attitudes of Somalilanders was of more interest than ever.
In June 2012 ORB conducted a Somaliland-wide public opinion poll, questioning Somalilanders about the issues pertaining to democracy, politics and general issues and priorities affecting their local area and Somaliland as a whole.
The poll revealed generally high level of optimism, with 86% agreeing that Somaliland is moving in the right direction and a majority also thinking things in Somaliland have improved in the past year.
In terms of perceptions of democratic progress, 80% of respondents indicated they see Somaliland today as either a full democracy or a democracy with minor problems, and 88% expect the upcoming local elections to be either completely free and fair or free and fair with minor problems.
Overall, there is a prevailing sense of equality with 87% of Somalilanders considering themselves the same or better off economically than other Somalilanders.
Despite overall optimism and satisfaction with the democratic process as a whole, satisfaction with particular incumbents within the political system is low. Most Somalilanders feel very little sense of agency when it comes to influencing either elected local councillors or members of parliament, and around two thirds think that the national government is out of touch with the needs of the people. Nevertheless, nearly two thirds say they would still vote for their current MP if elections were held today.
Unreliable provision of electricity, jobs and high prices are the main areas Somalilanders would like their political leaders and government to address
Of a list of organizations and leaders we asked Somalilanders about, religious leaders attracted the highest ratings, with almost universal approval ratings. The President was also viewed favourably, followed by Parliament, Local Councils, and NGOs, particularly foreign ones, viewed the least favourably of all.