Somalia: Puntland VP and Speaker seeking ‘share’ of Somaliland seats
A delegation led by Puntland vice president Abdihakim Abdullahi Omar ‘Amey’ travelled to Mogadishu on Dec. 3rd to take part in ongoing discussions among Somali federal and state leaders.
Vice President Amey’s delegation includes parliament speaker Ahmed Ali Hashi and commerce minister Abdiweli Hersi ‘Indhoguran’. On Dec. 7th, the Puntland delegation participated at the opening of a National Leaders Forum meeting in Mogadishu, chaired by caretaker Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
President Mohamud’s mandate ended Sept. 10th and the presidential elections have been delayed three times. The 54-member Upper House is 80% complete and while voting for the 275-member Lower House is almost finished.
‘Sool and Sanaag seats’
Mr Amey and Mr Hashi – who hail from Sool and Sanaag regions, respectively – are in Mogadishu to campaign for “three seats for Sool and Sanaag regions” that were reportedly included among the eleven Upper House seats reserved for Somaliland, sources say.
However, outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte has said: “This is Puntland’s view. We are following the agreement among the National Leaders Forum”.
The National Leaders Forum meetings have issued numerous public statements. At times, agreed principles written in one communiqué would be superseded by a follow-up communiqué at another meeting, leaving space for interpretation and counter-arguments.
On Nov. 28th, Mr Amey suspended ongoing federal parliamentary elections in the Puntland state capital Garowe. A press release from the Puntland state house strongly criticizedoutgoing federal parliament speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari for his “unilateral decisions…that are undermining the political power-sharing and the ongoing National Election process”.
Somaliland’s Upper House conundrum
Officially, the self-declared republic of Somaliland is not taking part of the Somali federal election process. However, Somali politicians from the Somaliland regions have always held federal positions in Mogadishu, despite Hargeisa’s 25-year rejection of joining any Somali national government.
Political analysts say that excluding any politicians from Sool and Sanaag regions in the clan-makeup of the eleven Upper House seats for Somaliland gives the impression that Hargeisa had relinquished its claim over the said regions.
However, if the seats are granted, Sool and Sanaag regions will continue to remain at the center of a long-running Somaliland-Puntland dispute, and an important component (federal representation) to persuade Somaliland in future reunion talks is lost.