2. Research Materials and Methods

From the methodological point of view, this is an intrinsic case study. This means that we are guided by an interest in the case itself, rather than in extending theory or generalizing across cases (Stake 1995). Our primary goal is to understand the structure of the internal strategies of statehood legitimization by the Somaliland government. Therefore, we will mostly analyze authentic statements of a former member of the Somaliland government and official government documents with the goal of determining the foundation on which the political representation of Somaliland bases the right to independent existence.

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The research was conducted through an analysis of the official government documents complemented by an interview with Abdillahi Duale, Somaliland’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter an interview with Abdillahi Duale). The interview took place in Addis Ababa on 15 October 2010 and had the character of a semi-structured expert interview. The respondent was also given the freedom for more general expression on the subject under study (e.g. Flick 2009: 165–169).


During two study visits in Ethiopia in 2010 and 2011, the authors were fortunate that they were well received at the African Union (AU), where they could informally discuss with two representatives of this organization. Interviews recorded at the African Union aim at supplementing the official government documents of Somaliland and the aforementioned interview with Abdillahi Duale and at placing the problems of Somaliland’s de facto statehood into the context of events within the African Union.

The text is structured as follows: first, we define and conceptualize de facto statehood, and then we proceed with legitimization strategies for claims on independent statehood, which will serve as the theoretical framework and basis for analyzing Somaliland’s fulfillment of the four Montevideo criteria of statehood and for addressing the strategies applied by the representatives of Somaliland.

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