Somaliland: Parliament Votes to Retain Candidate Symbols in Elections

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Guurti Elders vote NO for the election law amendment By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Parliament has overturned plans to have scrap the use of candidate symbols during forthcoming elections.

Guurti, the upper house of parliament has voted against a proposal by the National Election Commission-NEC to scrap the use of symbols during imminent local council elections. The no vote by the Guurti elders reinforces a similar vote by the House of Representatives.

In a session presided over by the 2nd deputy Guurti chair Hon Saeed Jama with 45 members in attendance, 40 elders voted against and 2 voted for while the chair did not vote in a motion that emanated from an election law amendment submitted by the lower house of Parliament (House of representatives)

The amendment proposed by NEC intended to scrap the use of elections symbols and utilize numbers for candidates in the forthcoming elections, a move that the two houses of parliament said was not viable owing to the fact that a large segment of the society is illiterate thus will be disfranchised if the use of symbols was removed.

The two house of parliament have of late been kept busy with a number of election laws amendments most of which were approved. The laws that have so far been modified include making candidates win seats on first to the post rule as opposed to earlier formats that saw candidates elected on a party list other changes made and already law thus in use, include allowing Members of Parliament and Councilors to switch parties and still hold their seats as well as the scrapping of the voters registers thus forthcoming local council elections will be held devoid of a voters register.

On the other hand a dramatic move by the Members of parliament from the House of Representatives to debate and acquiesce on the apportioning of a number of seats, on nomination basis for women and minority clans has raised pro and anti-debates nationwide

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