(CNN) -- The electoral commission in Somaliland, a breakaway republic in northwest Somalia, has declared Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo as the winner in the presidential election held recently, according to its chairman, Ise Yusuf Mohamed.
Silanyo's opposition Kulmiye Party won 49.59 of all votes cast while the party on the incumbent leader, Dahir Riyale Kahin, got 33.23 percent of the vote, the chairman said.
A third party contesting the election got 17.18 percent of the vote.
"This is an important election for the people of Somaliland; it is also a major step toward the democratization of the country," said Chairman Mohamed while announcing the results of the election in Hargiesa.
"The election was free and fair as witnessed by the international observers and this is a step that will lead to the recognition of the country," he said.
There were 1.09 million registered voters in the region of 3.5 million people.