- The newly elected parliament of the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland is caught in a conflict between the ruling UBUB party and the majority opposition over the election of its speaker. The ruling party calls the election of an opposition leader as speaker illegal, while the opposition claims UBUD is trying to buy votes to gain a majority. Armed police are trying to dissolve parliament.
A Somaliland opposition leader today accused the government party of trying to forestall the proper functioning of the newly elected parliament. In a telephone call to 'Awdalnews Network', Faisal Ali Waraabe, Chairman of the opposition Justice and Welfare Party (UCID) said that the speaker of the new lower house and his deputies were elected by 47 members, affirming that this was way above the required quorum of 42 members.
Commenting on the decision of Mohammed Ali Dheere - the parliament's opening session's chairman - to postpone the election of the house speaker to Saturday, Mr Faisal said that Mohammed Dheere's authority was limited only to chair the opening session and supervise the election of the house speaker and his deputies.
"He did not even explain why he decided to adjourn the session to Saturday," Mr Faisal said, affirming that this was yet another attempt by the ruling UDUB party "to buy more votes."
Mr Faisal added that two UCID party MPs from the Western province of Awdal, Mahdi Abdillahi and Muuse Hoosujeed, had joined the UDUB party, while two UDUB members had also joined the opposition camp, affirming that 48 members including the session chairman remained in the hall to complete the election process.
Many opposition members have resisted calls to leave parliament - which was dissolved by Mr Dheere - and armed police troops have been called to the building. Answering a question on why he and Mr Silanyo remained in the session, Mr Faisal said that they were only observers, noting that there were also government ministers attending the session as well as other observers.
Mr Faisal said that the Interior Minister had sent a heavily armed police force with the aim of disbanding the parliamentary session by force. "The police force couldn't stop the parliament session but they have abused and beaten up the press people," he said.
He said that the police hit a reporter from the independent daily 'Jamhuuriya' with gun butt on his face and confiscated the cameras, cassette players and other equipment of many of the reporters.
The opposition members of the new parliament today elected the speaker and his two deputies after the ruling party members of the house walked out acting on the orders of the temporary session chairman who decided to adjourn the session to Saturday.
The opposition deputies, contesting the session chairman's authority to adjourn the meeting, elected a new temporary chairman and carried on with the election of the speaker and hid two deputies. The ruling party parliament members, however, described the election of the speaker as null and void.
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