Somalia: Puntland rejects clan-based model, withdraws confidence on representatives to FGS
GAROWE, Puntland - The much-anticipated polls in Somalia suffered yet another blow on Monday, with Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni rejecting the popular clan-based electoral model, which has been advocated for by a number of opposition bigwigs.
Instead, Deni called for consensus over the power-sharing model, arguing that it's the only realistic way Somalia can avert possible violence before the elections, whose fate will be determined later this month.
The clan-based model popularly known as 4.5 power-sharing deal, he said, violates the spirit of the federal constitution and that of Puntland, adding that the state is not keen to have "such kind if retrogressive arrangement".
"The members of the commission who are entrusted with the task are those who have been empowered by power-sharing in 4.5 clans based system and we are warning the tribal system should not be constitutional,” he said via video conference on Monday.
Later on this month, the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] and the parliamentary ad-hoc committee on elections would among others, issue the date for elections and the most preferred model based on their study across the country
Also, the team will give the formula for delimitation of constituency boundaries, roadmap on implementation of the 30 percent quota rule, and the model for the representation of the Benadir region and Somaliland in the federal parliament.
The FGS and a number of international partners are pushing for adoption of the universal suffrage model but sections of the opposition team prefer clan-based models. For instance, Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, the leader of the Wadajir party, said the time left for preparations can only allow the clan system as the ideal model.
In addition, president Deni called for expeditious dialogue to solve the impasse, which he argued could at the end fuel conflicts in the war-torn nation. It's not clear which model he prefers since he ruled out the two available options.
At the same time, he said that his administration had withdrawn confidence on Puntland's representatives to the federal parliament, another indication of possible simmering differences within local leadership from the semi-autonomous state.
The state is represented by a number of MPs and senators at the national level, whose mandate is to represent the interests of the region. In recent weeks, Deni has expressed reservations for the passing of petroleum and electoral laws.
However, he welcomed remarks by Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, adding that "we all want peaceful and timely elections and it's up to him to ensure that his promises are fulfilled". He insisted on the need to agree on the ideal electoral model.
The tenure of current Parliament and executive will expire in October, with elections scheduled to take in December and early January next year. There have been claims that President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is planning for a term extension, which the opposition is keen to block.
In a speech delivered at a cabinet session, Khaire asked ministers to prepare for the polls, arguing that "it's the same elections which gave us legitimacy and we cannot afford to postpone. Somalis are waiting to elect their leaders in December".
Last month, Heritage Institute of Policy Studies, a Mogadishu-based think tank, also ruled out universal suffrage model, arguing that the time left cannot allow the country to ensure adequate preparations. Instead, the group recommended an expanded model.
Under the model, Abdirashid Hashi, the director said, each region should have 1,000 people electing an MP. If adopted, the model would see an increase of electors from the current 14,025 to around 221,000, he said.