Somaliland's parliament leadership race takes new dimension


HARGEISA, Somalia - The race for Somaliland's parliament leadership has taken a new dimension after the split of the opposition UCID party, in what could trigger a tough contest in the coming weeks in the northern breakaway region.

This came after the ruling Kulmiye party managed to divide one of the main rival opposition parties that formed an alliance with Waddani to win the majority in the parliament following House elections in May.

UCID managed to get 21 seats in the recently concluded parliamentary polls.

Already, 11 members deserted the UCID party have signed a pact with the Kulmiye party in Hargeisa, which would see them back former Foreign Affairs Minister Yassin Faratoon in his bid to run for House speaker.

At an event in Hargeisa, a new alliance announced that the ex-UCID members will run for the first and second speakers respectively in the new arrangement which gives the ruling party some breathing space.

Kulmiye party managed to scoop 30 seats in the 82-house while Waddani got 31 MPs. Under the new deal, Said Giire and Abdinasir Qodah resigned from UCID declared their candidacy for the deputy posts.

"We left UCID over lack of consultations, power-grab, and injustice," said Qodah, who spoke at the event at the Mansoor Hotel. He was UCID's secretary before his latest move to leave which is viewed by many as a defection.

UCID stated that he had been fired, accusing him of "fraud" and "division" within the party something which he vehemently denied during Saturday's address to the media.

However, UCID did not disclose the evidence of the grave allegations, while condemning his move on signing an agreement with Kulmiye, terming it "illegal" and "unacceptable".

The pact between the UCID and Kulmiye factions breaks down the opposition coalition, which was tipped to scoop most parliamentary leadership posts. Kulmiye party was defeated in the May elections.

However, the deal comes at a time when members of the opposition have told the media in recent days that Kulmiye is paying bribes "to buy MPs' votes," something which has not been substantiated.

Since declaring independence from Somalia in 1991, Somaliland has not been recognized internationally as the world considers it a part of greater Somalia in the Horn of Africa.


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