Somalia: Somaliland leaders strike deal to end election stalemate
HARGEISA, Somaliland – The leaders of the main political parties in Somalia’s northern breakaway region of Somaliland have inked a deal ending the long-running deadlock over the parliamentary election, Garowe Online reports.
The agreement, brokered by the EU and foreign diplomats in Somalia, offers a possible way out of an electoral standoff which threatened to plunge the self-declared republic into a further political crisis.
The three political parties of Wadani, UCID and Kulmiye have agreed to end the dispute by agreeing to increase the number of Electoral Commissions from the constitutionally mandated 7 members to nine.
In addition, the rival parties agreed to amend the relevant election laws that govern the number and composition of the National Election Commission, according to a joint statement seen by Garowe Online.
The move was welcomed by the new European Union [EU] Ambassador to Somalia Nicolas Berlanga and British diplomatic mission in Mogadishu who have been instrumental in mediating the political parties.
In a twitter post, EU Ambassador to Somalia said the agreement is a positive step for Somaliland.
The leaders of the Political Parties, President Muse Bihi Abdi representing ruling Kulmiye, Abdirahman Irro [Waddani] and Faisal Ali Warabe [UCID] inked the deal after meeting at the presidential palace.
Somaliland political parties have been locked in a standoff that resulted in delays of local governments’ and parliamentary elections and a term extension for the region’s current Parliament.
Per the deal, the lawmakers from the three parties in the house will table a shared motion to endorse the new amendment of the Somaliland electoral law before the elections in September this year.
If the attempt to expand the electoral body’s number from seven to nine fails, the parties agreed to go first to the polling stations and elect new assembly on time and revisit the issue after the elections.
Somaliland, a former British colony declared unilateral independence from the rest of Horn of Africa nation, Somalia in 1961, however, no country in the world has so far recognized it as a sovereign state.