Sticking Points in the Somali Electoral Model Agreement

Mogadishu (PP Features) — The preparations for 2021 elections seem to be in full swing. The Somali political parties have welcomed the electoral agreement that will keep Somalia wedded to 4.5, a flawed power-sharing system.

The Somali Federal Parliament endorsed the electoral agreement today; questions of interpretation will gain salience. The Electoral Law will become defunct once the Parliament gives the Federal Government the green light to organise election in conjunction with Federal Member States.

The electoral agreement contains a vague clause on the election of MPs and Senators from Somaliland. Neither the Electoral Law nor the electoral agreement clarifies the meaning of Somaliland. If the last two elections are any guide, the negotiations for selecting MPs and Senators from disputed territories will get more complicated.

Puntland cites the 2016 agreement and 1998 Puntland Charter to nominate MPs and Senators from the Disputed Territories in ex-British Somaliland.

The 2012 elections saw a 5-3 split of MPs from parts of disputed territories. An agreement signed in 2016 by former Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and former Federal Government Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid entitled Puntland State to nominate MPs and Senators from disputed territories. The agreement on the electoral model contains an article on the selection of MPs and Senators from Somaliland without geographically defining which parts of Somalia proper is known as Somaliland and which social groups inhabit there.

Asked how MPs and Senators from Sool, Sanaag and Cayn will be selected, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said that he was unable to answer the question. President Mohamed cannot risk a return to strained relationship with Puntland State whose leaders accused President Mohamed of, among other things, not sending ammunitions to Garowe when Puntland and Somaliland forces clashed at Tukaraq in Sool two years ago.

President Mohamed was reluctant to send supplies to forces that do not come under the command of the Mogadishu-based Somali National Army although Puntland is a Federal Member State.

The 2016 agreement ended the federal representation privileges of Khatumo Movement led by Dr Ali Khalif Galaydh, who signed an agreement with Somaliland Government in 2017.

Much depends on how the articles of the electoral agreement will be interpreted. Political expediency will determine the outcome.

© Puntland Post, 2020