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​Somalia: Opposition candidates reject expansion of Upper House

Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Opposition presidential candidates have lamented at the recent decision by Somalia's National Leadership Forum (NLF) to expand the Upper House seats, calling the decision unconstitutional on Tuesday, Garowe Online reports. 

Recently, Somali leaders have agreed to increase additional 18 seats to the Upper House chamber, making a total of 72 members.

Citing articles in the Provisional Federal Constitution (PFC), they added the number of Upper House shall be no more than 54 members based on the 18 regions of Somalia before 1991, and that all Federal member states shall have an equal number of representatives in the Upper House of Federal Parliament.

Six presidential contenders said in a joint press statement that Somali leaders are manipulating the electoral process, as they agreed to increase additional seats and allowing regional leaders to handpick candidates provided by final approval of the Federal President.

"This is nothing but another attempt to manipulate the electoral process and give the incumbencies an excessive advantages to their presidential campaign," read the statement.

However, they warned that the move could lead to further political crisis and damage the credibility of the process, which is already tarnished by fraud and irregularities.

Opposition candidates called the United Nations Security Council to immediately intervene to safeguard the electoral process and put the process on the right path.

Yesterday, the international community has expressed worries to the recent outcomes of the NLF conference in Mogadishu and called Somali leaders to adhere to the constitution and address egregious cases of abuse of the electoral process. 

Somalia has continously postponed the presidential election amid delays to complete the parliamentary elections in the regional states.

International partners called the Somali government  to issue swiftly a timeline for the completion of the process before the UN Security Council’s upcoming meeting on Somalia that is scheduled for 19 January 2017.

GAROWEONLINE