Somalia: Caretaker PM supports Somaliland elders’ Halane decision

Somalia’s indirect electoral process continues in five regional capitals, where hundreds of delegates are electing federal Members of Parliament.

State-level Indirect Electoral Implementation Teams (SIET) began conducting the parliamentary elections on Nov. 6, and the elections are still ongoing. The Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team is playing a national coordination role.

The federal parliament consists of two houses – the House of the People and the Upper House – with a combined 329 seats elected from six regional states: Puntland (37 seats), Jubaland (43 seats), Southwest (69 seats), Galmudug (36 seats), Hirshabelle (37 seats), and the separatist region of Somaliland (46 seats).

The Somaliland administration has rejected the entire process altogether.

Somaliland elders’ unique request 

Traditional elders representing five regional states are working from their home states, where the voting is taking place. But elders representing the Somaliland regions who are part of the 135 Traditional Elders empowered to nominate voting delegates (51 delegates per seat of the 275-member Lower House) cannot go to Somaliland with their delegates to organize voting for MPs representing the Somaliland regions.

The elders recently submitted a request that the voting takes place inside the Halane compound – a heavily fortified zone sometimes referred to as Mogadishu’s “Green Zone”. 

The requested cited concerns over security and political interference in the voting process. The ongoing electoral process has been marred by allegations of corruption, vote-buying and intimidation.

Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake, the outgoing prime minister, sent a letter addressed to the FIEIT and SIEIT, affirming support for the Somaliland elders’ request to conduct voting the relative safety of Halane compound, near Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport.

Somaliland role in Somali federal elections

Officially, the Somaliland administration in northwest Somalia unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.

On Sunday, Somaliland’s information minister Osman Abdullahi Sahardid rejected claims that Somaliland was part of the ongoing Somali federal electoral process: “We do not have anyone representing us in the government of Somalia. Those who purport to do so are job seekers advancing personal interests”.

Since 2004, when the first interim federal government came to office, national parliament seats were allocated to Somaliland and filled by unionist politicians from those regions.

Somaliland “representatives” in Somalia’s federal parliament have been at the center of controversy, since the administration in their home state of Somaliland categorically rejects being part of the Somali Federal Republic.

However, supporters say keeping Somaliland “representatives” in the federal parliament symbolizes Somali unity and that not allocating parliamentary seats or leaving the seats vacant is one step closer towards Somalia’s recognition of an “independent Somaliland”.

Source: Somali Review