Somalia’s National Leadership Forum suspends election of new Upper House members
MOGADISHU, Somalia- Following growing criticism from public and international community over the recent decision to expand the Upper House chamber, Somali leaders have released a joint statement on Thursday stating it halted the election of new members, Garowe Online reports.
Last week, leaders of Somali Federal government-term ended in September 10- and regional states, who convened the National Leadership Forum (NLF) conference, have agreed to increase additional 18 seats to the Upper House chamber of Federal Parliament, following extended talks in Mogadishu.
But this prompted wide disapproval from the international community and oppositions, who called the Somali leaders to adhere to the country’s constitution and stressed that any amendment shall be implemented through a proper constitutional process.
The move violated the Somali Provisional Constitutions, which stipulates the Upper House chamber shall consist of 54 members representing all regions of Somalia.
However, according to today’s NLF joint statement, the election of the new Upper House members has been postponed until the election of new Somali President in January 2017.
The NLF called the caretaker Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke to request from the new 10th Federal Parliament to amend the constitution, to legalize the expansion of the Upper House chamber to 72 members to resolve complaints from regional clans.
This comes amid reports of political standoff between Somali leaders and representatives from the international community over the nullification of disqualified parliamentary seats that were rigged through misconduct and malpractices.
Previously, Independent electoral dispute body has announced it considering dismissing election results of 24 seats for re-contests, but later NLF has decided to reduce it to 5 seats.
International community has warned NLF that failing to address serious electoral fraud would undermine the credibility of the election process and compromise international partners’ ability to engage with Somalia’s next Federal government.