THE PRESIDENTIAL AND LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS LAW
(LAW NO: 20/2001)
(Click here for the Somali version)
Translated and annotated by Ibrahim Hashi Jama LL.B, LL.M
© Ibrahim H Jama 2002
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE COMPASSIONATE AND THE MERCIFUL
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND
Having seen: Articles 9, 22, 25, 83 and 111 of the national Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland;
Having considered: The need to move away from a (political) system based on representation through the various communities and the need to realise the long-awaited aspiration of the nation to have free contests for positions of authority in the state;
HAS HEREBY APPROVED THIS LAW:
Article 1: Definitions
Election: means the sifting of candidates running for office by means of majority votes cast by the relevant electorate.
Commission: means the highest committee responsible for the organisation of and the decision-making in respect of the elections.
Polling Station: means the place where a number of the public who reside near each other cast their votes.
Electoral Ward: means the area which encompasses various polling stations which are all set for voting in connection with two or more specified candidates.
Agent: means the person appointed by an association/party to act as its agent for following the election activities at the polling station or the electoral offices.
Candidate: means the person nominated by an association/party to contest an election.
Voter: means the person who fulfils the conditions for voting and casts his vote.
Local Council: means the council elected by the voters in a district to act as the administrative and legislative local government in the district.
Electoral Region: means an area which covers a number of electoral districts.
Electoral District: means an area which includes at least one polling station.
Seat: means a position of authority which will be filled by one person through an election.
Symbol/Symbols: means a unique logo or sign which identifies one association/party.
List/Lists: means the names of candidates submitted by an association/party, which are arranged in the order in which they are to be elected.
Election Campaign: means the activities of the associations/parties and candidates in competing for the understanding and support of the voters.
Central Office: means the supreme headquarters for the management of the election activities to be carried out by the Commission.
District Office: means the office which manages the polling stations in the district.
Regional Office: means the office which manages the election activities in the region.
Polling Station Office: means the office which manages the election activities at the polling station.
Observers: mean the international or local inspectors accredited by the Commission, who shall ensure that the election activities are conducted properly.
Article 2: General Principles
This Law shall govern the election of local Councils and the election of the President and Vice-President.
Article 3: Term of Office
The term of office of the elected candidates shall be:
a) 5 years for the President and the Vice-President.
b) 5 years for the Local Councils.
Article 4: Membership of the Local Councils
The total membership of the Local Councils to be elected shall be:
a) The Local Council of the Capital City, 25 members.
b) The Local Councils of category A Districts, 21 members.
c) The Local Councils of category B Districts, 17 members.
d) The Local Councils of category C Districts, 13 members.
e) The Local Councils of category D Districts, 09 members.
Article 5: Conditions relating to Voters
1. He must be a patrial citizen of Somaliland.
2. He must not be aged less than 16 years during the year the elections are being held.
3. He must be free and not in prison.
Article 6: Rights of the Voter
Every voter who fulfils the conditions set out in the Law shall have the right to:
1. cast his vote at the district in which he is at and where the election is being held.
2. A voter who is away from the territory of the Republic of Somaliland shall cast his vote at the nearest diplomatic office of the Republic of Somaliland, but the Commission shall decide whether that is available or feasible.
3. Voting shall be personal, free, direct, secret and all votes shall be given equal weighting.
4. Each voter shall have only one vote for each election.
5. The members of the Elections Commission shall not be entitled to vote whilst in office.
Article 7: Employees of the State and of Governmental Bodies
1. The employees of the state and those of the independent governmental bodies, as well as members of the armed forces of whatever rank shall not be eligible to stand for the local or presidential/vice-presidential elections unless they have submitted their written resignations 180 days before the date of the elections. But in the forthcoming elections (the first elections) the period for resignation shall be shall be 40 days before the date of the elections.
2. Such resignation must be confirmed in writing by the office or the body which has the power to do so.
Article 8: Timing of the Elections
The Commission shall declare, in accordance with the Constitution, the dates when elections shall be held and their declarations shall be published as Presidential Decrees.
Article 9: Polling Stations
1. When the elections of the President and the Vice-President are being held, the country shall be divided in line with the respective areas of the Regions of the Republic of Somaliland into electoral regions, which shall be further sub-divided into polling stations.
2. When the local council elections are being held, the administrative area of each district shall be recognised as an electoral district, and shall be sub-divided into polling stations where the votes will be cast.
3. The Commission shall, in consultation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Chairmen of the Regions and of the Districts, set up the polling stations of the districts/regions, at the latest, 40 days before the date of the elections.
THE ELECTIONS COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND
Article 10: Structure of the Elections Commission
The structure of the offices of the Elections Commission shall be as follows:
a) Polling Station Electoral Office.
b) District Electoral Office.
c) Regional Electoral Office.
d) Central Electoral Office.
Article 11: Elections Commission
1. The Commission shall consist of 7 members who are as follows:
a) The Chairman and 6 members.
b) The Commission shall elect from among its members the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman.
c) The term of office of the Commission is 5 years beginning from the date the House of Representatives approves of its appointment, and the term of office may be renewed.
d) Employees of the state, members of Parliament, members of the council of Ministers, members of the armed forces and persons who hold positions in associations/parties cannot become members of the Commission.
2. The Elections Commission shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of Somaliland after he has received the (following) nominations:
a) 2 members selected by the House of Elders.
b) 2 members selected by the registered opposition associations/parties.
c) 3 members selected by the President.
3. The appointment of the Commission shall be approved by the House of Representatives on an absolute majority vote of half of their members plus one, and after the House Internal Affairs Committee has ensured that the appointees fulfil the conditions set out in this Law.
4. The central office of the Elections Commission shall have its headquarters at the capital city.
5. The Commission shall fulfil its duties in accordance with the Constitution and this Law. Commission meetings shall be quorate, and resolutions of the Commission shall be approved on a simple majority vote.
6. The Commission shall carry out its duties independently, and shall not, in the least, be interfered with by anyone.
Article 12: Eligibility Criteria for Membership of the Commission
1. He must be a patrial citizen of Somaliland.
2. He must be aged no less than 40 years and no more than 60 years.
3. He must be a muslim and must behave in accordance with Islamic religion.
4. He must be educated, at least, to secondary school level or equivalent.
5. He must not be a member of a political association/party and must be independent of all of them.
6. He must be renowned for respect, honour and fairness towards (all) the members of the society.
7. He must never have been convicted by a court for a crime.
8. He must be physically and mentally able to fulfil his duties.
Article 13: Dismissal of the Commission (Members)
1. A member of the Commission may be dismissed:
a) when he breaks one of the conditions of his appointment;
b) when he is unable to fulfil his duties because of lack of capability or ill health;
c) when he commits acts of wanton behaviour, theft, corruption or similar matters.
2. When it is suspected that the matters set out above have happened, the President shall appoint an investigation committee which shall report on the issues so that he can reach a decision thereof.
3. The President has the power to dismiss the Commission provided that the House of Representatives approves of the decision on a simple majority vote.
4. When a vacancy arises in the Commission due to dismissal, death or resignation, it shall be filled in accordance with the procedure adopted when the outgoing member was initially appointed.
Article 14: Powers of the Commission
The Commission shall have the power to:
1. set the date of the elections, and inform the President so that he can issue a Decree;
2. set the number and the location of the polling stations of the districts and the regions;
3. appoint, dismiss, or discipline the staff of the central office and those of the electoral districts and the electoral regions;
4. plan the budget for administering the electoral activities;
5. declare the provisional results of the elections of the President and the Vice-President pending their confirmation by the Supreme Court;
6. inspect the polling stations and any other places connected with their duties either randomly or in a planned fashion;
7. adjudicate on the disagreements relating to the elections, which have been forwarded to them by their electoral offices;
8. conduct research into how the country can have polling stations where candidates can compete for votes;
9. register voters before the date of the election.
Article 15: Budget of the Elections Commission
1. The Commission shall have its own budget, which is prepared by it and submitted to the President. When an agreement is reached on the budget, it shall be forwarded to the House of Representatives for approval.
2. The Commission shall utilise the elections budget independently, and shall submit quarterly accounts to the Comptroller General.
Article 16: Polling Station Office
1. The Polling Station Electoral Office shall consist of a chairman and two scrutineers. The older of the two scrutineers shall act as a deputy chairman. The Office shall also have a secretary.
2. The chairman, the secretary and two scrutineers shall be appointed by the Commission which has the power to transfer them, if that is deemed necessary.
3. If, because of urgent matters, it becomes necessary to replace a scrutineer or the secretary whilst the voting is in progress, the chairman of the polling station shall replace him with someone selected from the persons present at the polling station and meeting the criteria for eligibility for voting set out in this Law.
4. The Polling Station Office has the responsibility for conducting the election activities at the station.
Article 17: District Electoral Office
1. There shall be a District Electoral Office at the headquarters of each district. The Office shall consist of a chairman and two scrutineer, the older of which shall act as a deputy chairman.
2. The District Electoral Office shall also have a secretary and two counting officers.
3. The chairman, the scrutineers, the secretary and the counting officers shall be appointed by the Commission which has the power to transfer them.
4. The District Electoral Office has the responsibility for conducting the election activities at the district.
Article 18: Regional Electoral Office
1. There shall be a Regional Electoral Office at the headquarters of each region. The Office shall consist of a chairman, a deputy chairman and secretary appointed by the Commission.
2. The Regional Electoral Office has the responsibility for conducting the election activities at the region.
Article 19: Electoral Officeholders
1. Persons appointed by the Commission to hold electoral offices must be informed of their appointments at least 15 days before the date of the election.
2. No one appointed to serve in an electoral office may be excused from the appointment unless there is a true reason which satisfies the Commission.
3. Persons appointed to the membership of the polling stations, district or regional electoral offices shall have administered to them the following oath of office by Chairman of the District Court:
“ I SWEAR BY ALLAH THAT I SHALL FULFIL MY ELECTORAL DUTIES IN A CONSCIENTIOUS AND HONEST WAY AND THAT I SHALL BE IMPARTIAL IN RESPECT OF THE ASSOCIATIONS/PARTIES AND THE CANDIDATES AND THAT I SHALL WORK IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW AND JUSTICE.”
4. The members of the Commission shall have the above oath administered to them by the Chairman of the Supreme Court.
5. Members of the armed forces, members of organisations which are organised in ways similar to those of the armed forces, the chairmen of the districts, regions and local councils, and candidates standing for elections can not be appointed to electoral offices.
6. The term of office of the of the members of the polling station, district and regional electoral offices shall come to an end when the results of the elections are declared. The Commission may, however, extend the term of office of any of them, if it considers necessary.
7. State employees, members of the national armed forces, and members of associations/parties are not eligible to serve as chairmen of the district and regional electoral offices. The eligibility criteria for the appointment of the chairmen of the district and regional electoral offices shall be the same as those for the appointment of the members of the Commission.
Article 20: Allowances for Officeholders
1. The allowances payable to electoral officeholders shall be set by the Commission. The allowances shall be based on the varying responsibilities of each officeholder.
2. Officeholders who are employees of the state or public bodies shall be paid half of the relevant allowance.
3. Officeholders who are assigned to work at offices which are away from their place of residence shall be entitled to subsistence allowance during their absence. Such allowance shall be set by the Commission.
Article 21: Privileges of the Commission, Candidates and Officeholders
1. All officeholders working at the electoral offices, agents of associations/parties set out in this Law shall enjoy the legal status of public officers.
2. Candidates, electoral officeholders and the agents of the parties shall not be detained during the elections unless they have been caught in flagrante delicto in respect of an offence punishable by imprisonment for three years or more.
3. Any offences committed by the above persons shall be pursued after the election has taken place and the person is relieved of his responsibilities.
4. The members of the Commission shall, during their term of office, have privileges similar to those enjoyed by the members of the Council of Ministers, and their privileges may be removed in line with Article 94(8) and Article 96(4) of the Constitution.
THE ELECTION PROCESS
Article 22: The Election System
1. The local elections shall be based on a “proportional representative system” where the seats are allocated on the basis of the proportion of votes cast in the region or district for each association/party. The election of the President and the Vice-President shall, however, be based on a “majority system” as set out in the Constitution.
2. In local elections, each association/party shall submit a list of the candidates standing for election. The number of candidates in each list must not be less than twice the number of seats to be filled at each district.
3. The number of seats won by each list containing the candidates contesting the local council elections shall be allocated on the basis of “proportional representative list system”.
4. Voting shall not be held in any district where there is only one list submitted and there is no contest. The seats of the district shall then be allocated to the top corresponding number of candidates in the list.
Article 23: Procedure for Declaration of Candidates
1. The list of candidates for election to the local council shall be declared by the district committee of each association/party and shall show clearly the names of the candidates in full (three names), their places of birth and year of birth. If there are candidates whose full names are the same, then they shall be differentiated through the addition of their nick-names (if they have them) and their fourth name. The list shall also confirm clearly the district in which the candidates are standing for election.
2. The list of candidates shall be accompanied by the following:
a) Confirmation of resignation from public service appointments as set out in Article 7 of this Law.
b) 4 (four) copies (of the list) which show clearly the emblem/symbol of the association/party.
c) Declaration by each candidate to the effect that he accepts his candidacy and that he fulfils the relevant conditions.
d) Receipts for payment of the deposits of the candidates issued by the Ministry of Finance as set out in Article 25 of this Law.
3. The sequential order of the names of the candidates in a list shall be accepted as having been so chosen by the relevant association/party.
4. Any disagreements within an association/party about the declaration and submission of a list of candidates shall be resolved by the central Committee of that association/party.
Article 24: Symbols of the Lists of Candidates
1. The symbols shown in the lists of candidates declared by the associations/parties shall be different from each other.
2. No association/party shall use a symbol which has been used previously in an election by another association/party.
3. Symbols shall be unique and shall show a recognised sign, but shall not show a governmental, tribal or sectarian sign.
4. An association/party shall use the same symbol when declaring candidates for elections at local or presidential/vice-presidential level.
Article 25: Deposit
Candidates for office shall pay the following non-refundable deposit:
a) 1,000,000 Sl.Sh. in respect of each candidate for presidential office.
b) 50,000 Sl.Sh. in respect of each candidate for a local council.
Article 26: Receipt of the List of Candidates
1. The lists of candidates for President and Vice-President shall be submitted to the Commission office and those for the local councils to the District Electoral Offices before 6.00 o’clock in the afternoon of the day which is 45 days before the polling day. The lists shall be accompanied by the attachments set out in this Law.
2. The Commission office or the district electoral offices shall ensure that the candidates in the lists fulfil the relevant conditions, and the name of any candidate who did not fulfil the relevant conditions shall be referred back to the association/party which submitted it for a substitution to be made by that association/party within a set period.
Article 27: Publicising the Lists of Candidates
1. The Commission and each district electoral office shall prepare the methods for publicising the (list of) candidates and shall ensure that the sequential order of the candidates in the lists is kept and their symbols are clearly shown.
2. The Commission and all its polling station electoral offices shall prepare written publicity of the lists of district candidates and shall display them in all the polling stations of the district.
3. The Commission and its offices shall display 30 days before the polling day the lists of district candidates at public meeting places, notice boards, local government offices etc, and shall also publicise the lists through a loud speaker transported around the streets, and, if possible, through radio broadcast or publication in the press.
Article 28: The Beginning and End of the Election Campaign
Election campaigns shall start when the publicity set out in Article 27 is made and shall finish 48 hours before the polling day.
Article 29: The Holding of Meetings and Demonstrations
1. Persons organising meetings and demonstrations relating to the election campaign shall inform in writing the Chairman of the District and the relevant police station 48 hours before the event. The Chairman of the District may ban the holding of such meetings or demonstrations if he is satisfied that they might damage the health, morals or general peace etc, and it is incumbent on him to order that the meetings or demonstration may be held at places and times set by him.
2. No more than two meetings or demonstrations can be held in a town or village in any one day.
Article 30: Display of Boards
1. Board displays and election campaign leaflets shall be submitted to the office of the Chairman of the District 48 hours before they are displayed. No fees shall be charged for these submissions.
2. No election campaign boards or leaflets shall be displayed at mosques, government offices and transport, and diplomatic and international organisations centres etc.
Article 31: Weapons and Military Uniforms
No weapons, military uniforms or similar materials may be carried or worn in election campaign meetings or demonstrations.
Article 32: Agents of the Parties/Associations
1. The central committee or the regional/district committees of each association/party may send an agent who has the right to vote to any polling station where their candidates are standing for election. They may also send a substitute if the agent is absent.
2. Agents sent by the associations/parties shall be present when the electoral office is conducting its activities, and shall submit any concerns or requests for clarification that they may have, which shall be recorded.
3. The names of the agents of the associations/parties shall be submitted to the Commission or its offices 10 days before the polling day. The Commission or its offices shall issue each agent with a written permission allowing him access into and freedom to exercise his duties at his designated polling station.
ELECTION OF LOCAL COUNCILS
Article 33: Conditions Relating to Candidates for Local Councils
1. He must be a patrial citizen of Somaliland.
2. He must be actually resident in the district where he is standing for election.
3. He must be a muslim and must behave in accordance with Islamic religion.
4. He must not be aged less than 35 years during the year the election is taking place.
5. He must be suitable for this office on the basis of his standing within the community.
6. He must not have been subject of a final sentence for a criminal offence proven in a court within the preceding ten years.
7. He must be educated to secondary school level if he standing for elections in districts graded A or B, or, at a minimum, to intermediate school level or equivalent if he is standing for election in districts graded C or D.
8. He must be a local district tax payer or have participated in a voluntary capacity in activities which are of public interest in the district.
Article 34: Association which do not Become Parties
Associations which do not succeed in becoming an approved party but gain seats in the local elections in some districts must join one of the three approved parties.
THE ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE VICE-PRESIDENT
Article 35: Conditions for Candidacy to the Offices of the President/Vice-President
1. The conditions for candidacy to the offices of the President and Vice-President shall be those set out in Article 82 of the Constitution.
2. Candidates standing for election to the offices of President and Vice-President must be members of and be nominated for election by an association/party which has been registered or approved.
Article 36: Election System of the President and the Vice-President
The system for electing the President and the Vice-President shall be as set out in clauses 1 to 4 of Article 83 of the Constitution.
PROCEDURES FOR CONDUCT OF THE ELECTIONS
Article 37: Electoral Offices Equipment
1. The national Elections Commission shall prepare for each polling station the following equipment:
a) A copy of this Law.
b) A sealed container which has in it the stamp of the polling station as well as ink and a stamp pad.
c) A sealed container which has in it the ballot papers.
d) The ballot boxes.
e) A container for carrying the ballot papers.
f) Three forms to record the voting activities.
g) A tabulated form.
h) Enough ballpoint pens for marking the ballot papers.
i) At least 5 posters showing how voters can mark the ballot papers.
j) A bottle of indelible ink for marking the voters.
k) The various written materials that may be required.
2. When combined local elections are being held, the materials referred to in 1c to 1g in the preceding clause shall be provided in duplicate, but shall be marked differently.
3. The Commission shall prepare for the Central Electoral Office and for each district/region the following materials:
a) A copy of this Law.
b) A sealed container which has in it the stamp of the District or regional (electoral) office as well as ink and a stamp pad.
c) Three forms to record the election activities of the district/region (electoral offices).
d) Tabulation forms.
e) Various stationery.
4. The equipment for each (electoral) office shall be placed in a separate container which shall be locked and sealed. The Commission shall send the equipment and the ballot boxes at the appropriate time to the electoral offices of the district/region which shall, in turn, pass them on to the polling stations.
5. The Commission shall prepare for its district/regional offices extra ballot papers kept in sealed envelopes for use by any electoral office that requests them. Such requests must be accompanied by reasons, and the ballot papers shall be handed to the Chairman of the polling station.
6. In places which are not easily accessible, the Commission may pass the sealed envelopes containing the extra ballot papers to the relevant person who is undertaking election inspections, and who can hold them in the same way as the district/region electoral office.
Article 38: Ballot Papers
An upright and rectangular symbol of each association/party shall be printed on each ballot paper. Each symbol shall have an accompanying blank space for the voter’s mark. Each ballot paper shall have a gummed edge so that it can be folded and sealed.
1. Every polling station where voting is taking place shall have two small booths where voters can enter and mark their ballot papers therein and are so arranged to ensure secret balloting.
2. The ballot boxes for holding the ballot papers shall be placed in full view of or beside the tables used by the Chairman of the polling station.
Article 40: Display of the List of Candidates
1. A copy of the display referred to in Article 27 of this Law shall be affixed to places which can be seen by everyone and form parts of the electoral offices or are inside and outside of the polling stations.
2. A copy of the publicity referred to in Article 27 of this Law which the Commission prepared from the list of candidates in the order in which the lists have been passed to it shall be affixed to visible places outside and inside the electoral offices.
Article 41: Distribution of Electoral Equipment
1. The District Electoral Office shall ensure that the necessary equipment shall reach each polling station where the voting will take place at 6.00 o’clock in the morning before the polling day.
2. The Commission shall deliver to the district electoral offices the equipment required for voting at the latest 4.00 o’clock in the afternoon of the day before the polling day.
3. Every polling station shall be issued with:
a) A note declaring the names of the polling station officers.
b) A note declaring (the names) of the agents of the associations/parties who shall be present at the polling station.
Article 42: Polling Station Office
1. When the polling station Chairman receives the equipment referred to in the preceding Article, he shall:
a) prepare the office and inform the scrutineers and the secretary that they are the officers of the station and instruct them about how they will fulfil the duties assigned to them;
b) ensure that the approved agents of the associations/parties are present;
c) having confirmed, in the presence of officers of the station and the agents of the associations/parties, that the containers are sealed, open them, and check that the equipment is complete;
d) having confirmed, in the presence of officers of the station and the agents, that the envelopes containing the (polling) station stamp and the ballot papers are sealed, open the envelopes, mark the ballot papers with the polling station stamp and place them neatly in a suitable container. No person, other than those approved in writing, shall be present at the polling station at this stage;
e) ensure that the displays setting out the voting procedures and the lists of the candidates are affixed to the assigned places;
f) ensure that the necessary equipment assigned for the voting is utilised in the way set out in the Law so that the election activities are carried out properly.
2. He (the polling station Chairman) shall record that all the above activities have been carried out. The record shall also show the stamp of the polling station and the total number of ballot papers received by the polling station.
3. He shall then ensure that all the officers and the agents confirm through their signatures that everything is in place as planned.
4. When the Chairman of the polling station confirms that all the above activities have been carried out, he shall declare that the voting may commence.
Article 43: Powers of the Chairman of the Polling Station
1. The Chairman of the polling station shall keep the order during the election. He may instruct the police to remove a person from the polling station or detain a person who has committed an offence in connection with the election activities or a person who is manifestly insane.
2. The police shall not enter the polling station unless ordered to do so by the Chairman.
3. Police officers and state employees shall fulfil any requests made by the Chairman of the polling station so as ensure smooth voting and avoid overcrowding around the polling station officers’ table or in the immediate vicinity of the polling station.
4. The Chairmen of the polling stations and those of the central (electoral) office shall have the right to exercise the powers set out in this Article.
Article 44: Access to the Polling Station
1. Only persons managing the polling station, agents of associations/parties and voters may enter the polling station.
2. It is forbidden for voters to carry weapons at the polling station. Voters shall proceed ahead of each other in the order of their arrival, but if there are persons who are working on election activities and who wish to cast their ballot, they may be allowed to proceed ahead of the other waiting voters. Only one person at a time may enter the polling station.
Article 45: Steps Before Voting
1. A voter may cast his vote after:
a) he has given the particulars of his name, age and identification;
b) his right to vote has been verified and he has fulfilled the voting conditions after his identification, including any documents he is carrying, other witness statements or any other ways of proof, have been checked promptly;
2. Indelible ink shall be marked on the little finger nail of the voter’s left hand. If he has no left hand, then the right hand little finger nail shall be marked, and if he has no hands, then a visible part of his body shall be marked.
Article 46: Persons who can not Vote
1. Voters who attend the polling station in person may place their votes in the ballot box.
2. If, because of physical incapacity, a person may not be able to cast his vote, the Chairman of the polling station may allow another voter who is trusted by the incapacitated person to help him cast his vote.
3. The Secretary of the polling station shall record the reason why the incapacitated person was allowed to be helped in casting his vote. The record shall also show the details of the incapacitated person and his helper.
Article 47: The Voting Procedure
1. On completion of the activities set out in the preceding Article, the Chairman of the polling station shall hand the voter a ballot paper which has the polling station stamp affixed to it and which has been detached from its remaining counterfoil.
2. The voter shall then enter the small booth where he will mark the ballot paper and fold it.
3. Using a biro-pen provided by the Secretary of the polling station, the voter shall put his mark on the right side of the symbol for which he is voting for. The voter shall then fold the ballot paper, seal the gummed edges together and place it in the appropriate ballot box.
4. The voter must leave the polling station after he has placed the ballot paper in the box and the Chairman of the polling station has checked that the indelible ink stain on him is clearly apparent. If the ink stain is not so apparent, it is shall be applied again so as to show that the person has already cast his vote.
5. If the voter notices that the ballot paper he was given is incomplete or damaged, he shall return it and ask the Chairman of the polling station for a replacement. Such an incident shall be recorded in writing.
6. The Chairman of the polling station shall have the power to eject from the station any voter who, without any excuse, loiters at the station, and to confiscate his ballot paper. Any such ejected voter may be allowed to vote after all the other waiting persons have cast their votes.
7. The Chairman of the polling station shall order promptly that any voter who is found to have additional ballot papers or ballot papers which are different from the ones in use or who has voted previously, be detained and handed over to the police so that he can be taken to court. Such an incident shall be recorded in writing.
Article 48: Conduct of the Voting
1. Voting shall be completed within one day, beginning at 7.00 o’clock in the morning and finishing at 6.00 o’clock in the evening.
2. If there are voters who are still queuing outside to vote, the finishing time shall be disregarded and voting shall continue until all such waiting voters have cast their votes.
Article 49: Decisions about Complaints at the Polling Station
The Polling Station (Electoral) Office shall reach provisional decisions about complaints (if any), such as those made orally or any arguments relating to voting activities of the polling station. These complaints and arguments shall be recorded in writing.
Article 50: Activities Before the Counting of Votes
After all the voters have cast their votes, the Chairman of the (polling) station shall announce loudly that the voting has finished.
When the Chairman of the (polling) station gathers from the table all the papers and equipment which are not necessary for the count, he shall start the following activities:
Check the total number of voters by looking at the number of ballot papers issued.
Collect and count all the ballot papers that have not been used and place them in the first envelope.
Confirm and affix his signature on the incomplete or damaged  ballot papers which were returned by the voters or where seen to be so, and place them in the second envelope.
Article 51: Counting of the Votes
1. When the Chairman of the (polling) station has completed the activities set out in the preceding Article, he shall start the count of the ballot papers in the ballot box. To enable this, a Scrutineer shall remove from the ballot box two ballot papers at a time, which he shall pass on to the Chairman. The Chairman shall open each ballot paper and announce loudly (the name of) the association/party which gained each vote. The ballot paper shall then be passed by the Scrutineer to the second Scrutineer and shown to the agents of the associations/parties. The Secretary shall then record the vote in the appropriate tabulated form which relates to the association/party for which the vote was cast and shall place the ballot paper in the appropriate box.
2. No ballot paper shall be removed from the ballot box whilst the preceding ballot paper(s) are still being processed and placed in the (appropriate) box. Only the officers of the (polling) station shall manage these tasks.
3. When the Chairman of the (polling) station completes the count, he shall confirm the total number of (issued) ballot papers and reconcile them with the total votes cast for the associations/parties as well as the total number of disputed ballot papers or incorrect ballot papers or those which are invalid in accordance with Article 57 of this Law.
4. When the Chairman of the (polling) station completes his confirmation and affixes his signatures, he shall place in the third envelope the incorrect or disputed ballot papers or those which were considered to be invalid, and the records of any complaints or objections.
5. The Chairman of the (polling) station shall finally place the counted ballot papers in the fourth envelope.
Article 52: The Closure of the Counting Activities
1. When the Chairman of the (polling) station completes the counting activities set out in the preceding Article, he shall declare publicly the total number of voters, the correct votes cast and the number of votes cast for each association/party list.
2. The envelopes shall then be sealed, and shall have affixed to them on the outside the stamp of the polling station and the signatures of the Chairman of the (polling) station, and those of at least one of the scrutineers and of all the agents of the associations/parties which have candidates standing for election at the polling station.
3. The details of the materials in each envelope shall be noted on the outside of each envelope.
4. The counting activities shall be completed as set out (above) in a continuous manner and without any interruptions or engagement in other activities.
5. The written records shall show clearly the activities set out above.
Article 53: Incorrect or Disputed Votes
1. When the ballot papers are being counted, the following shall be considered as void:
a) If they are different from the ballot papers which the Commission has chosen for use in the election.
b) If they do not have the stamp of the polling station affixed to them.
2. The counted ballot papers shall become void if:
a) the ballot paper contains any writing or signs or skilfully applied impressions, which are not as authorised;
b) the ballot paper does not show clearly the association/party for which the vote was cast and this can not be recognised;
c) the ballot paper shows that the voter has marked the symbols of more than one association/party.
3. A vote may become void when the all the officers of the polling station so resolve jointly. If, however, there is no such joint resolution and there is disagreement, the relevant ballot paper shall be recognised as a disputed one.
4. The District Electoral Office shall reach decisions about disputed ballot papers.
Article 54: The Written Records of the Polling Station
1. The written records of the polling station shall be the appropriate forms designed by the Commission for this purpose which shall be kept in triplicate.
2. Two copies of the written records shall be placed in the same container which holds the sealed envelopes referred to in Article 55 (of this Law) and shall be forwarded to the District Electoral Office. The third copies, together with the various remaining election materials, shall be forwarded to the Chairman of the Regional Electoral Office.
Article 55: The Transport and Transfer of Materials
1. The Chairman of the polling station, accompanied by at least one of the officers (of the polling station) and the guarding police officers, shall transport without any delay the written records and the envelopes of the polling station and hand them over to the District Electoral Office.
2. When the envelopes are being handed over to the District Electoral Office, they shall be checked so as to ensure that they are sealed and have not been opened or interfered with. The Chairman of the District Electoral Office shall issue a receipt confirming transfer of the materials.
3. The Chairman of the District Electoral Office shall forward the sealed envelopes containing the result of the voting relating to the election of the President and the Vice-President, as well as the third copy of the written records to the Chairman of the Regional Electoral Office.
Article 56: The Work of the District Electoral Office
1. On receipt of the materials set out Article 55 of this Law, the Chairman District Electoral Office shall:
a) instruct the scrutineers, the secretary and the counting officers to get ready for the work;
b) call the agents of the associations/parties, which have fielded candidates at the District elections and were approved by the Commission, so they can be present during the conduct of the (election) activities;
c) after he and the officers and the agents have ensured that the containers are sealed and have not been opened previously, open the containers and check and remove the equipment;
d) after they have jointly ensured that the envelopes are sealed and have not been opened previously, open the envelope which contains the stamp and check that the number on the stamp has been affixed to the written records.
2. The District Electoral Office shall then check that the written records and the envelopes set out in Articles 50, 51 and 54 of this Law are complete.
3. When the District Electoral Office confirms the result of the voting for the elections of the President and the Vice-President, it shall forward it to the Regional Electoral Office, which shall, in turn, forward it to the Central (Electoral) Office.
Article 57: The Counting of the Votes for the Presidential Election
When conducting the activities relating to the Presidential election, the Chairman of the District Electoral Office shall:
a) count and add up all the votes cast in all the polling stations;
b) confirm the votes which were declared void in all the polling stations;
c) reach a decision about the disputed votes as set out in Article 53 of this Law;
d) add up the total votes cast in the polling stations for each party which has fielded candidates in the district;
e) forward to the Regional Electoral Office the result of the votes cast and the complaints (if any).
Article 58: The Work of the Regional Electoral Office
1. After receiving the third copy of the written records of the polling stations, the total result of the votes as declared by the districts in the region and the total votes cast for each party as forwarded by the District Electoral Offices of the region, the Regional Electoral Office shall check the calculations of the results of the total votes.
2. The Chairman of the Regional Electoral Office shall make a written record of this task in the appropriate form in triplicate, and shall forward two copies to the Central Electoral Office (the Commission) and the original record to the Supreme Court of the country.
3. On receipt of the result of the votes for the election of the President and the Vice-President, the Regional Electoral Office shall forward it to the Commission for confirmation and declaration on a provisional basis.
Article 59: The Counting of the Local Elections and the Declaration of the Result
On receipt of the materials set out Article 55 (of this Law) in relation to the local elections, the Chairman District Electoral Office shall:
1. count and add up all the votes cast in the polling stations of the District;
2. confirm the void votes of all the polling stations in the district;
3. reach decisions about the disputed votes;
4. count the number of valid votes cast for each association/party in the district election;
5. divide the total number of valid votes cast in the district by the number of seats of the local district, and calculate the proportion of the votes each association/party has gained;
6. confirm the number of local seats each association/party is entitled to;
7. declare then the names of the candidates of each association/party who have won the election, in the sequence of their positions in the lists as set out in Article 23 of this Law;
8. declare publicly the result of the district election and display on the notice board of the District Electoral Office the names of the successful candidates.
Article 60: Forwarding the Records
1. The records of the activities set out in Articles 55, 56 and 58 of this Law shall be noted in the appropriate forms designed by the Commission for these purposes, and must kept in triplicate.
2. The copies of the records shall be distributed as set out in Articles 55 and 58 of this Law.
Article 61: Issuing Resolution Relating to the Local Elections
The District Electoral Office shall issue the resolution relating to the district elections by means of a concise written notice setting out the names of the candidates who were successful in the local elections, which shall be displayed at the administration office of the relevant local government, and copied to the Central (Electoral) Office.
Article 62: The Review of the Local Elections
1. The Chairman of the Regional Court shall review and confirm the resolution relating to the local elections. He shall reach decisions about any disputes or complaints which have arisen during the voting activities and have been generally forwarded to him by the District Electoral Office(s).
2. Any concerns or claims which have not been submitted to the electoral offices may be forwarded to the Regional Courts within ten days beginning from the date of the announcement of the result of the elections.
Article 63: The Work of the Central Electoral Office
On receipt of the materials and the written records set out in Article 60 of this Law, the Chairman of the Commission shall:
instruct the assistants and the secretariat to get ready for the tasks;
call the agents of the associations/parties so that they can be present during the conduct of the (election) activities;
check, together with others, that the envelopes are sealed and have not been opened and then open them and remove the materials therein;
after checking, together with others, that the envelopes are sealed and have not been opened, open the envelope containing the stamp of the electoral office and note in the written record the number of the stamp;
pass the remaining equipment on to Secretary.
The Central Electoral Office shall then confirm the receipt of the written records set out in Article 60 of this Law, which are expected from the district and regional electoral offices.
Article 64: The Declaration of the Result of the Presidential Elections
When the Chairman of the Commission receives from the district and regional electoral offices (all the written records), he shall:
a) reach decisions about the claims relating to the voting and the count;
b) count and add up (arithmetically) the valid votes and the incorrect or invalid votes, which have been forwarded by the regional electoral offices;
c) having confirmed fully and being satisfied that the (election) activities have been conducted properly, declare the provisional results of the elections of the President and the Vice-President.
Article 65: Elections Claims
1. The Supreme Court shall have (the sole) jurisdiction to deal with claims relating to the elections of the President and the Vice-President. These claims must reach the Court office within 20 days beginning from the date when the election results are declared. No late claims shall be considered.
2. On receipt of the written records from the district and regional electoral offices and from the central office of the Commission, and having checked that the elections have been conducted properly in law and in the way the calculations were done, the Supreme Court shall declare the result of the election of the President and the Vice-President.
Article 66: Implementation
This Law shall come into force on signature by the President and shall be published in the official journal of the Government.
Praise be to Allah
Mohamad Hussain Osman
General Secretary, House of Representatives
Abulqadir H. Ismail Jirdeh
Acting Chairman, House of Representatives
© Ibrahim Hashi Jama 2002
 The phrase association/party (i.e urur/xisbi) is used throughout the Law to underline the fact that of the registered associations/parties which will be participating in the first nation-wide local elections, only three will, after these first elections, accepted as the three political parties allowed under Article 9 of the Constitution (see Article 3 of the Political Parties Law).
 A separate, but presumably largely similar, law will be introduced to govern the elections of the members of the two House of Parliament. The position of regional councils is unclear, at moment, and is awaiting finalisation of the local government laws, but this Law could be easily adapted for any regional council elections.
 Article 88 of the Constitution already sets out that the term of office of the President/Vice-President is 5 years “beginning from the date that they are sworn into office”.
 This is also set out in Article 111(7) of the Constitution.
 The number and categories of districts is a matter of considerable controversy, as it has been alleged that the Government has created a vast number of districts which have not been approved by the House of Representatives as set out in Article 3 of the Structure of the Ministry of Interior and the Administration of the Regions and Districts Law (1993). There were 19 districts when the President Egal took over in 1993 and since then their number has been doubled, allegedly, without approval of the House of Representatives. About 6 districts were created by the Government in the last year alone, the most recent of which were Darasalam and Allaybaday in Hargeisa region. Parliament is currently considering a new local government law to regularise the position before the first elections are held.
 It is trite law to state that he includes she throughout this Law. Note also Article 8 of the Constitution which gives all citizens equality of rights and obligations before the law regardless of gender, birth, status etc.
 Article 22(2) of the Constitution also states that “every citizen who fulfils the requirements of the Law shall have the right to be elected (to an office) and to vote”. Article 4 of the Constitution defines citizenship on grounds of patriality (i.e descent from a person residing in Somaliand on 26th June 1960 or earlier) and confirms that the law shall determine the acquisition and loss of Somaliland citizenship. The House of Representatives has recently approved, on 1 March 2002, the Somaliland Citizenship Law which sets out the patriality principle and the rules relating to naturalisation (i.e 10 years residence, surrender of other nationality etc.). Quaere: In the light of Article 5 of this Law (the Elections Law) which links eligibility to vote to patriality and not just citizenship, one issue that will need addressing in the future elections is whether naturalised citizens are entitled to vote. The answer ought to be yes, as the Constitution guarantees equality of citizens (Article 8) and the right of citizens to participate in the political and economic affairs of the country (Article 22). Any differential treatment of citizens in connection with this basic democratic right is likely to be contrary to Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 and Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights 1981.
 The Referendum Law and the previous Elections Bill (as well as the earlier pre-1969 “Somalian” laws) set the voting age as 18, but various states are now considering lowering of the age of voting.
 Presumable, this Law.
 This clause refers literally to the location of the voter, presumably on the date of the election, rather than where he normally resides. It has to be read in the light of the fact there is no detailed voter registration system set up in this law. But see Article 14(9) which gives the Elections Commission the power to register voters..
 Somaliland is yet unrecognised, and therefore has no accredited legations abroad which can facilitate voting of expatriates. This is, however, an enabling provision which can be activated by the Elections Commission when circumstances permit.
 These are minimum periods.
 The first elections will be the nation-wide local elections.
 Presumably, this is the governmental office or body which employed the person concerned.
 Otherwise known as Governors.
 On 30 January 2002, the Commission elected Abdullahi Abdi Haji Omer (a Presidential nominee) as Chairman, and Ahmad Haji Ali Adami (a House of Elders nominee) as Deputy Chairman. It was reported that the positions of Chairman and Deputy will be rotated every six months.
 For the Council of Ministers, see Article 94 of the Constitution.
 It is submitted that these are associations/parties registered under the Political Parties Law.
 The President passed on to the House of Representatives a list of nominees on 19 December 2001.
 Six opposition associations/parties have formally registered themselves under the Political Parties Law. These are Hormood, UCID, ILEYS, SAHAN, UMAD & BIRSOL. The Government association/party is UDUB.
 On 21 January 2002, the House of Representatives approved 6 of the 7 nominees, as follows:
1. Ahmed Haji Ali Adami, proposed by the House of Elders – 52 votes for, 1 against and 4 abstaining.
2. Mohamad Sheikh Abdillahi proposed by the opposition parties - 51 votes for and 6 abstaining.
3. Shukri Haji Ismail Bandare , proposed by the opposition parties was approved by 56 votes with 1 against.
4. Abdillahi Abdi Haji Omer (Jawaan), proposed by the President - 52 votes for, 1 against and 5 abstaining
5. Ahmed Adan Ali Godir , proposed by the president - 54 votes for, 1 against and 3 abstaining.
6. Mohamoud Garad Mohamed. proposed by the President – 54 votes for, 1 against and 2 abstaining.
7. After two ballots, the seventh nominee, Muuse Jama Mohamed, proposed by the House of Elders was rejected (40 votes for , 6 against and 12 abstaining). There were concerns about the date when this nominees’ role as legal adviser to the House of Elders came to an end. On re-submission of the same nominee, the House of Representatives approved his appointment on 1 March 2002 – 50 votes for and 2 abstaining.
 There are 82 seats of the House, but even with the death of one member of the House on 20 January 2002, the day before the House considered the Elections Commission nominations, the absolute majority required for approval for each Elections Commission nominee was 41. By the time of the second vote on 1 March 2002 for the seventh member of the Commission, the total actual membership of the House went down (with the death of another member and 3 expulsions for non-attendance) from 81 to 77, but the 50 votes gained by the nominee in this round were sufficient.
 The conditions are set out in Article 12.
 The Article does not set the quorum of the Commission. In the circumstances a reasonable quorum could be half of the Commission members plus one, i.e 4, but it has been reported that the Commission are drafting their rules of procedure.
 This of course includes also individual members of the Commission.
 This Law does not set the minimum period between announcement of the dates of the elections and the polling date, but note that under Article 26, the lists of candidates should be submitted to the electoral offices 45 days before the polling day, and, therefore any announcement must predate this deadline.
 As this Law does not set up the details of a registration scheme for electors, it is not clear how the Commission is to undertake this power to register voters before the date of the election. Neither Article 5 relating to the eligibility of voters, nor Article 45 relating to the verification of voters’ identities refer to a register of voters. It is likely, therefore, that this clause is simply an enabling clause.
 This was referred to as the “Polling Station Electoral Office” in Article 10(a) above.
 This is likely to cover the police, the corrections service, and any other uniformed public services. Article 23 of the Constitution (freedom of movement and association) outlaws any (private) associations which are military in nature or are armed.
 See Article 12 above.
 These Articles relating to the Council of Ministers state the following:
“94(8): No Minister or Deputy Minister may be detained unless caught in flagranto delicto in respect of an offence punishable by imprisonment for three years or more, or the President has removed his privileges after having been satisfied by proposals put to him by the Attorney General.
96(4): If the Attorney General charges a Minister or a Deputy Minister with an offence set out in Clause 1 of this Article (i.e Article 96(1) relating to high treason and contravention of the Constitution), he shall forward the details of the charges to the President. If the President is satisfied with the details provided by the Attorney General, he shall remove the privileges of the Minister or Deputy Minister. But, if he is not so satisfied, he shall order the Attorney General to drop the charges.”
 The English language phrase “proportional representative system” is used in parenthesis in this clause in the original Somali version. See also Article 59 below for how the local seats shall be divided up on the basis of the Hare Quota and, presumably, the largest remainders.
 It is not clear why the region is mentioned in this sentence.
 This English Language phrase “majority system” is used in parenthesis in this clause in the original Somali version.
 See Article 83:
“1. The President and the Vice-President shall be elected jointly through a direct general election by means of a secret ballot
2. The joint election of the President and the Vice-President shall be based on the list system and shall take place a month before the end of the term of office of the outgoing President.
3. The two candidates in the list which obtains the highest number of votes cast in the Presidential and Vice-Presidential election shall be recognised as the successful candidates……”
 The English language phrase “proportional representative list system” is used in parenthesis in this clause in the original Somali version.
 To reflect the patrilineal nomenclature of Somalis, a full name (be it male or female) consists of the (first) name of the person followed by the (first) name of his/her father and then the (first) name of his/her grandfather.
 The fourth name shall be that of the great grandfather (see above).
 Although it is not clear, it appears that there are no specific deposits to be paid by vice-presidential candidates. This may be because each candidates’ slate will include both a presidential and vice-presidential candidate – see Article 83(2) of the Constitution and Article 26 of this Law.
 This is presumably the Central Electoral Office as set out in Article 10 above.
 See Article 23 above.
 The Central Electoral Office.
 The abbreviation “iwm” in Somali is the same as “etc”. In this context, it can be read to refer to “other similar places”.
 This in effect means that the official election campaigning will be confined to a maximum period of 28 days.
 In my recommendations relating to the Bill (see www.somalilandforum.com ), which, I understand, have been considered by the House of Representatives Elections Bill Committee , I suggested that only the police (and of course the courts) should have this power as the Chairman of the District Council or his party could indeed be standing in elections. It is encouraging, however, that there is an obligation on the Chairman of the District to come up with alternative place or time for the banned meeting or demonstration to take place. Although there are still remnants of the public order laws passed by the dictatorship which give district chairman considerable powers, these will now have to be interpreted within the constitutional guarantees of freedom of assembly and expression (Article 32 of the Somaliland Constitution).
 Besides other laws relating to possession of weapons, Article 23(4) makes unlawful any association which is military in nature or is armed.
 This period is twice that applying to candidates for both Houses of Parliament - Article 41 and 59 of the Constitution.
 See Article 4 above for various district grades. The classification of the districts in accordance with these grades shall be set out in the local government legislation. Surprisingly, as the district council of the capital is set out separately from the other districts which are graded A to D (according to, it seems, their importance and urban size), this clause leaves out the educational qualifications requirements of the candidates standing for election in the capital. The logic of the grading, though, suggests that the minimum required of candidates in the capital ought to be education at secondary level. It cannot be any higher as that is also the minimum required for parliamentary candidacy.
 Under Article 3 of the Political Parties Law 2000, the three associations which have obtained the highest votes in the first nation-wide local elections shall be approved as the three political parties allowed under Article 9 of the Constitution.
 See: “Article 82: The Conditions for Eligibility for Election as President or Vice-President
To be elected as President or Vice-President, a person must fulfil the following conditions:
1. He must be a citizen ofSomaliland by birth, and, notwithstanding residence as a refugee in another country, must not hold any other citizenship,
2. He must be a Muslim, and must be behave in accordance with Islamic religion.
3. He must not be aged less than 40 years.
4. He must be physically and mentally fit to fulfil his duties.
5. He must be posses knowledge of and experience in management (public and otherwise).
6. He must not have been convicted by a court for an offence against the Somaliland nation.
7. His spouse must be Muslim.”
8. He must be fully apprised of the realities of the country, having been resident in the country for a period of at least two years before the date when the election is scheduled to take place.
9. He must register his private property.”
 By then, the only registered parties will be the three accepted under the Political Parties Law and Article 9 of the Constitution.
 “Article 83: Election Procedures
1. The President and the Vice-President shall be elected jointly through a direct general election by means of a secret ballot.
2. The joint election of the President and the Vice-President shall be based on the list system and shall take place a month before the end of the term of office of the outgoing President.
3. The outgoing President and Vice-President shall continue in office until the new President and the Vice-President assume their offices within a month (of the election).
4. The two candidates in the list which obtains the highest number of votes cast in the Presidential and Vice-Presidential election shall be recognised as the successful candidates.”
 The reference to combined local elections is not clear unless it is presaging the possibility of regional council elections being held at the same time as district council elections. Although it is not stated, this clause could apply to occasions when presidential or parliamentary elections may be held at same time as those for the district councils.
 The Law refers here to the voting activities, but as voting only takes place at the polling stations, it is submitted that this refers to the “election” activities conducted by the District and Regional Electoral Offices.
 The inspections are the responsibility of the Elections Commission (see Article 14(6)), and can presumably be carried out also by members of the Central, District and Regional Electoral Offices who are all empowered to fulfil the election activities, in general – see Articles 17(4) and 18(2).
 This Article has no heading.
 As set out in article 41(3) of this Law.
 The word used here is in the plural, but there is only one central office as set out in Article 10 above.
 This clause seems to overlook the right of observers and also of the Central Electoral Officeholders to enter the polling stations for observation and inspection. Indeed, other Article 1 which defines observers, there is no mention of the role of observers in the Law. It is hoped that this will be covered by the guidance to be issued by the Elections Commission.
 See Article 5 above.
 I have chosen the same words used in Article 47(5) above for consistency, but the words used here are different and can be translated literally as “bad or imperfect” ballot papers. Article 47(5) gives voters the right to return ballot papers which are incomplete or damaged.
 Although clause 1 of this Article allows the Scrutineer to remove two ballot papers at a time, the reference to the “preceding” ballot paper(s) in this clause is in the singular and not plural, thereby suggesting only one ballot paper was removed at a time. This clause is not drafted clearly, and in the light of the preceding clause, it is translated as forbidding any other ballot papers to be removed from the box whilst the two papers that have been removed by the Scrutineer are still being processed. Any other reading would negate clause 1 and the Scrutineer shall only remove one ballot paper at a time. No doubt the Elections Commission shall issue a clear guidance on this point.
 That is presumably the total number of issued ballot papers.
 It is Article 53 and not Article 57 which sets out the details of void ballot papers.
 It appears that various words have been used for incomplete or incorrect or spoilt ballot papers at in various clauses. This Article aims to summarise ballot papers which can be adjudged to be void.
 See also Article 56 (3).
 See Article 57 below for how the result of the district is arrived at.
 The Chairman, officers and agents.
 It would have probably been more appropriate if this Article relating to the Regional Electoral Office came after the following Article three Articles which conclude the work of the District Electoral Office.
 This the first reference in the Law to the Central Electoral Office being the Commission.
 This will give the quota (or quotient) of votes for each seat (the Hare Quota). Seats are then allocated for each full quota that a party/association obtains. As there is no further prescription about any remaining seats, it is submitted that these will be assigned on the basis of largest remainders. This is, in effect the “quotient and largest remainders” proportional representation system which was set out in the Elections Bill and was used in the last 1969 democratic elections in Somalia. See also Article 22(1) of this Law.
 See Article 23(3) – the higher a name is on a party list, the more likely he shall get one of the seats on the basis of the proportion of votes cast for the party.
 The Regional Court, like the Regional Electoral Office, covers all the districts in the region.
 In common law jurisdictions, this has been interpreted as meaning that first date is counted and therefore the final date is nine days after the first day. Similar wording is used in Article 65 relating to the submission of electoral claims to the Supreme Court within 20 days. But, the practice is Somaliland has been to count the period of 10 or 20 days from the day following the announcement or incident.
 See the preceding Article 63(2).
 This phrase which appears in parenthesis in the Somali text is presumably used to emphasise that the job involves calculating the sums only and not re-counting the actual votes.
 See the note relating to the similar Article 62(2) above.
 The President signed this Law on 6th December 2001
 The House of Representatives approved this Law on 14th November 2001 (Resolution of the House GW/KF 15/200/20001).