Nearly 900,000 voters in the unrecognized country of Somaliland are going to the polls on Monday to elect a president following a week of campaigning.
Polling began at 7 a.m. (O400GMT) and is expected to end at 6 p.m. (1500GMT) with results to be announced within a week.
More than 873,000 people have registered to cast their vote on Monday’s at 1,600 polling stations across the territory.
More than 25 years ago, after a ferocious civil war, north-west Somalia broke away from the rest of the country and declared itself independent.
Somaliland is not officially recognized as a sovereign state, but it has achieved relative stability since it declared independence in 1991.
Polling stations were crowded from the early hours of the day, with some voters queuing from dawn.
The government of President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Silanyo”, is stepping down — so the stakes in this election are high.
Three candidates are vying to replace Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the current head of state — Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Irro (Waddani party), Faysal Ali Warabe (UCID party), and Muse Bihi Abdi (Kulmiye party).
All parties have claimed confidence in the election procedure, and the transition is expected to be peaceful.
Sixty international observers from 27 countries have been invited to oversee the elections by Somaliland’s electoral authorities.