The National Electoral Commission (NEC) of the Republic of Somaliland announced that municipal and parliamentary elections slated for March 2018 will not happen.
NEC, at a press conference, at its offices in Hargeisa, Wednesday, stated that there were a number of legal, political and financial constraints that made the elections to happen at slotted time-frame improbable.
Among the reasons NEC cited were the absence of a long overdue Bill which could have regulated spread and allocation of parliamentary seats among the regions, which had become a much debated contentious issue in the past few years. An imperative voter registration to have been carried out not less than six months before the appointed day did not happen, either.
“Political dialogue among the three national parties has all but stopped. Waddani party has also declared in March 2018 that it has withdrawn all cooperation with the National Electoral Commission,” Commission Chairman, Abdulkader Iman Warsame, reading out the press statement said.
The sixth issue the commissioners justified the delay with the non-completion of planned budget for the voter registration and the elections, themselves, which was to be met by both the Somaliland government and international partners. The statement, however, did not clarify whether the government fell short of its commitment as the partners did.
The commissioners declared that, in the light of stated inhibiting factors, there was no way the elections could be held as planned when planned.
This latest postponement to the Parliamentary elections would pave the way for a fifth extension of term in office to the HoR, and a first to local councils.
Although, NEC did not officially raise it in its press statement, the two opposition parties had been demanding that they should have two more members – one each – added to the 7-member body. Since its establishment in 2002, the electoral commission was made up of one member from each of the three political parties, 2 members appointed by the senate-house, and 2 members nominated by the President.
To change the commission composition, a motion, signed by at least 11 MPs, must be debated in parliament and put to vote in the House. Neither the President nor anyone else has the mandate to tamper with it which fact seems to have eluded the opposition parties who are demanding that the President do so.
The WADDANI and UCID opposition parties have, of late, been making constant threats to convene an all-clan ‘national conference’ same as that in 1991 out of which the reclamation of independence was born. if they did so, the parties will forfeit their constitutional claim to ‘partyhood’ since they actively promoted the very thing that they were constitutionally charged to demote – tribal allegiance.
The Somaliland parliament – House of Representatives passed the 7 members of the commission presently in office on November 29, 2014. They are:
The Commissioners are:
- Abdulqadir Iman Warsame
- Mohamoud Hassan Wais
- Said Ali Musa
- Abdifatah Ibrahim Hassan
- Mohamed Jama Mohamed
- Kaltun Sh. Hassan Abdi
- Abdirahman Osman Adan