As the president submits request for extension of tenure in lieu of new election dates proposed by NEC
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Britain has became the first foreign entity to query postponement of Somaliland presidential and Parliamentary elections.
Concerns of the United Kingdom Government were raised during a meeting between a visiting British delegation from the UK Embassy in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and leaders of the Guurti, the upper chamber of the Somaliland parliament n Hargeisa.
The British diplomatic team composed of four members and led by deputy ambassador Ms Cate Evan met with a team of elders led by deputy Guurti chair Saeed Jama Ali and including elders Abdirahman Sh Yusuf Sh Madar, Abdilahi Ibrahim Habane (Chamber Secretary), Muhumed Aw Ahmed Haji Aden (Chair of standing committee), Haji Abdi Hussein Yusuf, Abdulqadir Mohamed Hasan (Chair social affairs committee) and Mohamed Sh Abdirahman.
Snippets from the closed door meeting indicate that the elders informed the British team that the National Election Commission-NEC had the constitutional authority to set its timetable for elections independently and without coercion from any quarters whatsoever.
NEC postponed presidential and parliamentary elections slated for June 2015 to 216th June 2016 owing to what the body termed as technical and legal issues that require expedited attention mainly establishment of a voters register that starts in late July 2015 as per presidential decree # #JSL/M/XERM/249-3164/042015.
The British team whose visit comes a short time after NEC postponed elections for exactly a year was at pains to understand why the polls cannot be conducted as slated.
Informing that concerns by the UK government were guided by communication from NEC and the Somaliland Democratization process monitoring Group composed of various stakeholders, sources indicate that, the Britons, in couched language, warned of the consequences the delay entails for the country as pertains to its international relations.
According to Guurti which is the body with the constitutional mandate to extend tenure of a sitting administration on advice of NEC and subsequent request by the head of state, powers to postpone elections in Somaliland is vested on NEC by articles 42 and 83 of the constitution and the presidential and local Governments election law #20/2001.
At the same time the elders informed that the proposed new election dates remain to be termed official in lieu of pending deliberation by Elders of the Chamber who have the constitutional mandate to do so upon the head of state submitting request for term extension .
Concluding amicably the UK diplomats were assured that as it is reckoned with the Somaliland Presidential and parliamentary shall conducted in a free and fair manner and as s usual with witness from international observers.
Meanwhile the president of Somaliland Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo has submitted to the Guurti a request for extension of the administrations’ tenure for one year beginning from 26th June 2015 to 26th June 2016.
According to a report by hadhwanaagnews the head of state made the request in a letter to the elders’ chamber dated 25th May 2015.
While Somalilandsun remains unable to verify the letter, it is the constitutional mandate of the president to request tenure extension from the Guurti whenever NEC proposes the postponement of elections or in the event of natural disasters or war.