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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Somaliland: Human Rights Centre expresses concern over calls for postponement of election

Press release
Somaliland: Human Rights Centre expresses concern over calls for postponement of election
The planned March 2017 election shall take place on time without further delay, said Human Rights Centre in a statement today.



The first election of the members of the House of Representatives happened in 2005. Their five years term lapsed 2010. Instead of holding election, their tenure has been routinely extended. The Upper House has never been elected and extends its own term whenever it lapses. No election was ever held on schedule in Somaliland.
The Constitutional Court ruled the House of Representatives election and presidential election to take place on March 2017. The National Electoral Commission is now working on thattimetable while the voter registration is smoothly ongoing

The only main remaining task is enactment of the House of Representatives Bill, a process that can be finalized within couple of weeks. The Bill raised controversy over the allocation of the 82 seats of the House. Difference exist on the number of seats each region has to receive. The President and the leaders of all the political parties agreed 28th June to carryout consultations about the Bill. 
Human Rights Centre is concerned that there are elements who are using the disagreement to drag the process and to further postpone the election of the House of the Representatives. 
The election is vital for the continuity of democratization process and the public trust. The people are unable to elect the law makers. The Upper House (Guurti) remains in power without election. The House of Representatives (Lower House) exceeded its mandate. Periodic election is important and necessary requirement for true democracy,” says Guleid Ahmed Jama, chairperson of Human Rights Centre.
“The power to elect shall be returned to the hands of the people. If the House election is postponed, it will very likely push back the elections of the Local Government Councils and the Upper House (Guurti) as well, he adds. 

Recommendations
To the President
1. Hold the election as scheduled;
2. Support inclusive and comprehensive law that solves the seat allocation controversy;
3. Support and endorsse quota for women and minorities. 
To the House of Representatives
1. Refrain from seeking further extensions;
2. Pass immediately and timely the House of Representatives Bill;
3. Include quota for women and minorities in the Bill
To the Guurti (the Upper House)
1. Refrain from extending the term of the House of Representatives or the President;
To the civil society
1. Fully support the occurrence of both elections on the agreed schedules;
2. Refrain from supporting postponement of election;
3. Take active role in campaigns against postponement and extension;
4. Fully support quota for women and minorities. 
To the international community:
1. Continue supporting the democratization process in Somaliland;
2. Pressure all parties, including the government, the Legislative Body, the political parties and the civil society to conduct the election on schedule without delay.

Contact
Guleid Ahmed Jama
Chairperson of Human Rights Centre
Hargeisa Somaliland