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New Somaliland Parliament (Mohamoud Abdi Daar)
November 11, 2020 - Written by admin

New Somaliland Parliament
Mohamoud Abdi Daar
Somaliland has a long tradition of democracy. The forthcoming parliamentary and municipal or
local government elections planned to take place in May 2021 present an excellent opportunity to
Somaliland citizens to select qualified candidates, men and women, to the new parliament and local
governments. The elections are important moments for the voters to influence the type and conduct
of the government they desire. Parliament is an indispensable institution as it is the main
representative of the state. Its authority and powers are based on the constitution as a law-making
body.
On this occasion, the voters should seriously consider the qualifications and quality of candidates
they seek to elect as members of the new parliament. It goes without saying, that the new
parliament, as a modern institution, will require capable legislators with adequate educational and
professional skills to cope with the challenges facing the country.
It is important to note that Article ( 41 ) on candidacy, point ( 4 ), of the Somaliland constitution,
makes quite clear that candidates to the House of Representatives ;
« Must be educated to, at least, secondary school level or equivalent »
Furthermore, point ( 6 ) of the same Article, states that, he or she « must be a responsible person
with appropriate character and behaviour ». This is an important law that need to be implementd.
Somaliland has a republican form of government. The constitution establishes the principle of the
separation of powers of the government in which the three functions of the Executive ( The
President and the Council of Ministers ), the Legislative and the Judiciary are kept separate, though
dependent on each other. The three branches of government are based on a system of checks and
balances.
The Somaliland parliament is a bicameral institution composed of the House of Representatives
and the second chamber, the House of Elders or Guurti. Occasionally, the two Houses hold joint
sessions. The House of Representatives which represent different electoral districts and regions in
the country is elected, by secrect ballot in a free general election, every five years. The current
House of Representatives was elected at the end of 2005. Its election is therefore over due.
At present, members of the parliament consist of representatives of the three national political
parties namley ; Kumiye, Wadanni and Ucid ( these are the abbreviations of the parties ). Kumiye is
at present, the governing party, while the other two are the opposition parties.
The political parties play an important rôle in the politics of the country . They form, among other
things, a link between the government and the people. During parliamentary and municipal
elections, there is an intense competition among them, though peaceful and orderly, as they
mobilize their supporters to contest for seats in the parliament and municipalties. The press covers
well these election activities.
Following which, however, members of the parliament work together on national interests, despite
their divergent ideologies and mutual criticisms. As a modern institution, the new parliament willxpected not only to be representative but responsible to the public. The incoming members of
parliament should have new thinking and ideas to make it, among other things, more effective as a
forum for discussions and national debates. To carry out these responsibilities, sufficient financial
and human resources ( educated support staff and training programs ) should be provided by the
government.
Some of the main challenges that the new parliament is expected to deal with, would include,
among other things, the issue of « Sami Qabsiy » or allocation of future parliamentary seats for
various regions, participation of all Somaliland citizens, men and women, in the government and in
the parliament. and the preparation of parliamentary laws on banking and finance, transport and
telecommuniations etc. These and other pressing issues should be effectively addressed, as a matter
of priority, by the incoming parliament through its standing committes.
Municipal or Local Government Elections
Ever since 1991, following Somaliland’s reclamation of its independence from Somalia, local
governments have played an important rôle in the reconstruction of towns and cities which were
massively destroyed by aerial bombardment, by the former regime of Siad Barre.
Local governments have continued to provide social services to the public. However, recently,
public opinion became unfavourable with regard to the performance of majority of local
governments. There is therefore lack of confidence in those local municipalities due to rampant
corruption and absence of authority to enforce the Rule of Law over issues that affect the people.
The coming elections, therefore, provide an auspicious opportunity to select an educated and
younger generation of councillors and managers to all municipalities in the country. This is, more
imortant than ever before, as there is increasing urbanization and population growth. In view of the
growing role of municipalities, the appointment of a government minister for local and community
affairs could be useful ; who would introduce reforms and establish local government law or any
other mechanism to make them accountable.
Conclusion
The decision of the president, Mudane Musa Behi Abdi, in collaboration with the National
Electoral Commission ( NEC ) to hold the elections in May, should be commended. In his
statement to the Amud University graduation ceremony in early October, the president has, in
addition, reconfirmed that future elections should be held on time, as specified by the Constitution.
In this regard, it might be useful to consider suggestions made by some observers to establish the
NEC as a permanent body, (similar to other democracies), achnowledging its experience and
indispensable role in the consolidation of Somaliland democracy.
It is relevant to point out, finally, that for Somaliland, the international aspects of its
democratization process and good governance are additional advantages in its drive towards de
jure recognition. These will enhance favourable image about the country as a democractic and
responsible actor in the international scene.

Submitted by Mohamoud Abdi Daar,

Consultant

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