The Somaliland House of Representatives unanimously approved on Saturday the election laws, bringing an end to the long-standing electoral dispute following a meeting in Hargeisa.
Lawmaker Abdinasir Qodax, a parliamentary committee member responsible for amending the existing electoral law, stated that specific provisions were modified before receiving full approval from the lawmakers.
“We have made changes to the general election law and national voters’ registration. Initially, it consisted of 154 articles, but we have added 13 new articles,” stated MP Kodax.
Qodax emphasized that the parliament also amended 35 law articles. He highlighted that the revised electoral law grants greater independence and authority to the election committee for conducting elections.
However, the government and opposition leaders agreed to hold the presidential and political organization elections on the same day, specifically on November 13, 2024. A committee of traditional elders brokered this agreement to break the stalemate over elections.
The central point of contention between the government and the opposition was the sequencing of political organization elections and the presidential election. President Bihi advocates for the election of political organizations to precede the presidential election, a stance that has met reluctance from the opposition.
The report was presented by a parliamentary select committee specifically charged with the task of the integration of both elections mentioned above and the coordination of the elections.
By thus the parliament has now approved that both elections should be held at the same time.
64 members of parliament agreed to the changes of the elections, while 3 members of parliament remained silent, and 7 members of parliament rejected it hence thus the Bill said through.
It has to go to the Upper House, the Guurti, before the Head of State enacts it into law.
The laws that addressing the electioneering processes are Act. No. 91 and Act 14 of the constitution, which entails 156 articles and 28 articles respectively.
As concerns Act No 91, 35 articles had their clauses amended with thirteen new ones formulated while on act No 14, 22 articles were subjected to changes in the comprehensive amendments Bill on electioneering process.
Apart from the slated time of the of the elections having been integrated, of note were notable changes that are fundamental to democratic personal rights such as the ability to vie for elective offices without being vetted by traditional leaders and clan elders and the freedom of being able to register as a voter any time of the year, depending on technical capability demands.
The assembly had 75 members, 63 members agreed, 2 members were against, 9 members were silent and the chairman did not vote.
A week ago, the United States government applauded the political agreement in the Somaliland election dispute. This endorsement came after U.S. Embassy Mogadishu Chargé d’Affaires Shane Dixon concluded a visit to Hargeisa to meet with key political figures. The United States encouraged the adoption of a political agreement proposed by clan elders, viewing it as a positive step toward achieving free and fair elections.