Somaliland's Ruling Party Candidate Declared Election Winner

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Muse Bihi Abdi

Source: AFP/Getty Images

Mogadishu, Somalia (AP) -- The ruling party candidate in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Somaliland has been declared the winner of the presidential election but the opposition claims irregularities in the vote.

The electoral commission says Muse Bihi Abdi of the Kulmiye party won 55 percent of votes counted while Abdirahman Irro of the Wadani opposition got 40 percent.

Hundreds of ruling party supporters have taken to the streets while soldiers stand guard across Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital.

Electoral officials call the election the first in Africa to use iris-scan biometric technology to prevent anyone from voting more than once. The vote was monitored by a British-funded team of 60 international observers from 27 countries.

Somaliland declared unilateral independence from Somalia in

1991. Some voters hope the election will help the push for international recognition.

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