Somaliland: Parliamentary Elections Postponed

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As President Silanyo Decrees on Equitable Parliamentary Representation while he affirms his commitment to relinquish office come April 2017

From left Guurti Chair Hon Suleiman Aden President Silanyo and Speaker of Parliament Hon Abdirahman Irro at the ceremonial dias

By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun- The currently contested regional distribution of seats in parliament’s House of Representatives makes conduct of successfully free and fair elections in Somaliland untenable.
This was stated by President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo in presidential decree # JSL/M/SHGW/081-4240/092016i in which he separated presidential and parliamentary elections thence subsequent delay of the ballot for legislators while leaving presidential one’s as slated on 28th March 2017
In a decision made in pursuit of maintaining stability in the country the head of stated justified, separation of the joint elections approved by Guurti and the constitutional court due to the regionally contested seat distribution in the Somaliland parliament in which residents from Awdal, East Sanaag, Sool and Buhoodle regions are underrepresented leading to a change agitation by traditional and political leaders.

“In lieu of the imperatives involved in establishing fully approved regional seats allocation thence attain desired equitable representation, which haste might impinge negatively upon , to the detriment of the country’s democratization process, it is my view that caution and broad based national consultations must be” said president Silanyo thence
I, Ahmed Mohamed Mahmud Silanyo president of the Republic of Somaliland hereby decree that:

1. Parliamentary elections are not feasibility with the current regionally inequitable seats distribution
2. Hold review and subsequent regionally equitable allocation of Parliamentary seats as pertains to Awdal, Sool, East Sanaag and Buhoodle regions that are currently under represented
3. Establish a national committee with the mandate to review current and recommend future regionally based seats allocation in the House of Representatives that are in tandem with laws and constitution, and
4. Separate presidential and Parliamentary elections in order to facilitate necessary seats allocation review, thus subsequently postponing the parliamentary ballot while presidential remains as slated on the 28th March 2017
Below are the verbatim excerpts of the Decree as released by presidential spokesperson Eng Hussein Deyr and translated by the writer

Presidency logo# JSL/M/SHGW/081-4240/092016 i                                  Date 10/10/2017
To, Speaker of the House of Representatives
Sub: Decision on Equitable Regional Representation
In reference to the full confidence bestowed upon my office by the three national political parties, upon their failure to resolve the issue of equitable regional distribution of Parliamentary seats in the House of Representatives, thence differing decision to my office.
My subsequent Decision is also in reference to data availed by the Academy for Peace and Development -APD and the Somaliland Non State Actors-SONSAF which pertains to the unanimous want by citizens for an equitable representation in parliament before elections that was carried following a nationwide survey.
Having perused a report by the parliamentary committee on Internal Affairs detailing current representation Regional and areas contending and submitted by the speakers of the house who recommended convention of a national consultation.
Having perused article 8 section 1&2 subsection 22 and 90 of the Somaliland constitution
And in reference to the decision of the constitutional court which recommended that the 2005 Parliamentary elections be held as per status quo with a subsequent national census that shall establish future seats allocation regionally.
Having similarly acknowledged the justifiable complaints by Awdal region’s traditional and political leaders as pertains their region’s inequitable representation in the Somaliland House of Representatives.
Also in consideration and having acknowledged the justifiable query by traditional and political leaders from Sool, East Sanaag and Buhoodle regions over the minimal participation in the national decision making process both administrative and in Parliament.
Having acknowledged issues related to gender and minority clans nonexistent access to decision making process especially in the legislature
Empirically aware that holding Parliamentary elections as per current status quo that are already acknowledged as unfairly distributed might undermine efforts towards finalization of national reconciliation between the state and residents Sool, East Sanaag and Buhoodle in which my administration is hosting traditional and political stakeholders from the three regions in Burao town on the 25th Sept 2016.
Undoubtedly having ascertained the importance attached to an equitable regional representation in parliament thus eliminate the very justifiable complains and in the process maintain prevalent peace and stability in the country, a process impossible to effect in the short time of seven months remaining to holding elections as slated on 28th March 2017.
In lieu of the imperatives involved in establishing fully approved regional seats allocation thence attain desired equitable representation, which haste might again impinge negatively, to the detriment of the country’s democratization process, it is my view that caution and broad based national consultations must be.
While promoting my personal desire for continued and apt democratization of the country through the holding of free, fair and transparent elections as well timely and acceptable to all citizens
In respect to the decision reached by elders of Guurti, the upper chamber of parliament, that elections for both the presidency and legislature be held simultaneously on 28th March 2017, a decision legalized by a subsequent ruling by the Somaliland constitutional court
Having perceived that lengthily deliberations by legislators have failed to amend election laws in which mechanism for agreeable regional representation in the House of Representatives both timely and consensually, subsequently differing decision on equitable seats distribution to my office.
Empirically aware that parliamentary elections are technically not feasible as currently slated due to the contested seats distribution and subsequent repercussions if not resolved amicably and to the satisfaction of all citizens.
Finally in pursuit of sustaining prevalent peace and security as well as the very being of Somaliland as a country where all are equal and in lieu of my desire to leave upon expiry of my tenure, a cohesive and peaceful country
I Ahmed Mohamed Mahmud Silanyo president of the Republic of Somaliland hereby decree that:

President Silanyo decres postponement of parliamentary elections in Somaliland1. Parliamentary elections are not feasibility with the current regionally inequitable seats distribution
2. Hold review and subsequent regionally equitable allocation of Parliamentary seats as pertains to Awdal, Sool, East Sanaag and Buhoodle regions that are currently under represented
3. Establish a national committee with the mandate to review current and recommend future regionally based seats allocation in the House of Representatives that are in tandem with laws and constitution, and
4. Separate presidential and Parliamentary elections in order to facilitate necessary seats allocation review, thus subsequently postponing the parliamentary ballot while presidential remains as slated on the 28th March 2017
.

To this effect, I urge honourable members of the House of Representatives to not only provide unanimous support but expedite approval of this request
Finally it is imperative to mention that legislature approval which is anticipated expeditiously shall not translate to implementation for it requires my submission to the constitutional court to legalize before promulgation

ALLAA MAHAD LEH
CC: Somaliland Non State Actors Forum- SONSAF
CC: Academy for Peace and Development- APD
CC: UCID Part
CC: Wadani Party
CC: Kulmiye Party
CC: National Election Commission-NEC
CC: Chairman of Guurti
CC: Chief Justice

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