See also:
» 17.03.2011 - Somaliland discusses need for more than 3 parties
» 05.07.2010 - Somaliland poll hailed; recognition next?
» 02.07.2010 - Opposition wins Somaliland poll
» 04.06.2010 - Somaliland election campaigns start
» 14.04.2010 - Somaliland finally prepares presidential polls
» 02.10.2009 - Somaliland peace pact hailed
» 25.08.2009 - Crackdown on independent media ahead of election
» 06.07.2009 - Opposition warns government against delayed polls

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Somaliland formally ready for elections

afrol News / Awdal News Network, 4 April - Somaliland's Lower House has this weekend endorsed the election bill with an absolute majority, finally accepting the amendments suggested by the President. The bill has however caused controversy in parts of the country that have been allocated few parliamentary seats.

'Awdalnews Network' learnt from close sources to the Hargeisa parliament that 61 members of those present had voted in favour while four had abstained. The parliament's Speaker was among those who didn't vote on Saturday.

Earlier, the house had demanded a national census and the demarcation of regional borders as a condition for putting their seal on the bill.

However, President Dahir Riyale Kahin of yet-to-be-recognised Somaliland had rejected the parliament's demands and referred the issue to the country's higher court. The court in turn supported the President's position.

Saturday's approval was the last attempt to avoid further confrontation and a further delay of the parliamentary election, which was originally slated by the President to be held on 29 March. The poll has now been postponed by President Kahin parliament approved the election bill.

One draw-back of the new election bill, however, is that the election will be held only in regional capitals, thus automatically disenfranchising tens of thousands of village dwellers and countryside people. The bill further is based on Somaliland's 1960 parliament allocation system - 1960 being the ex-British colony's only period of international recognition as an independent state.

With the parliamentary election seen as the victory lap of Somaliland's democratisation process, many observers worry that the allocation of parliamentary seats on 1960's clan basis rather than one-person one vote basis may be a source of dissention among some clans.

Prominent personalities from the Awdal region in the western part of the country have already shown resentment for the process and threatened to boycott the election.

A new date for the polling day is expected to be announced by the National Election Commission in the near future. The upcoming parliamentary election is to mark the finalisation of Somaliland's democratic transition, where leaders of all levels are democratically elected. Presidential and local elections have already been organised and were deemed free and fair by international observers.

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