Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Somaliland’s Bihi, opposition parties strike deal for 2020 polls, limit NEC’s role

Thursday February 27, 2020

HARGEISA (HOL) - The ruling and opposition parties in Somaliland have agreed on a landmark deal that will see the break-away region conduct parliamentary and local government elections for the first time since 2005.

The deal assented to by Kulmiye, UCID and Waddani parties also whittles down the role of the National Elections Commission which, under the agreement, cedes its authority to a technical team.

The compromise deal which follows heightened international pressure after postponement of parliamentary elections for six times since 2010 when it was to take place envisages the formation of a Technical Elections Management Unit (TEMU) which shall be tasked with preparing and conducting the elections.

TEMU will be made up of ten members- seven drawn from the Electoral Commission and three from international partners. The elections are expected to be conducted before the end of the year.

“NEC Commissioners shall sub-delegate part of their duties and responsibilities for conducting Local and Parliamentary Elections to a Technical Election Management Unit (TEMU),” the agreement reads in part.


The UN and other international partners in Somalia have in recent months demanded the elections be held in 2020 following several missed deadlines by the break-away region.

The Upper House (Guurti) last October resolved in a unanimous vote to add itself three more years and two to the Lower House sparking international ire followed by stern statements from the UN and visits by international diplomats to Hargeisa.

The decision to deny the Elections Commission the role of conducting the elections appears to be a victory for the opposition which vehemently refused to acknowledge the composition of the Commission late last year leading to protests which saw the arrest of opposition figures.

A proposal by civil society mediation group to dismiss the newly constituted Somaliland National Electoral Commission which was accepted by Waddani, UCID and Kulmiye in mid-December was thrown out by the government in mid-January noting there was no legal basis for such action.

“After lengthy discussions and consultations with legal advisers, the Government of the Republic of Somaliland has come to the conclusion that no constitutionally legal basis exists for the disbanding of the incumbent NEC, and that neither the President nor the Parliament has the authority to dismiss a duly instituted electoral commission without lawful justification to do so,” read statement by the Minister of Information Suleiman Yusuf January 14, 2020.

In the new deal, the NEC will be left with minor roles such as preparing the electoral budget, implementing appointments and announcing the elections date and the results.


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