Somaliland National Electoral Commission
The Commission consists of seven members, and in line with Article 11(2) of the 2001 Election Law, three members are nominated by the President of the Republic, two are nominated by the House of Elders, and the remaining two were nominated by the registered “opposition” political parties. The nominations are then confirmed by the House of Representatives.
Although the 5 year term of the last Somaliland National Electoral Commission (SNEC) came to an end on 21 January 2007, the new Commission was not sworn into office until September 2007. Sadly, the statutory procedure for appointment of commissioners does now allow for staggered system of the appointment of the seven members and so during the long period of delays and controversy, no commissioners were in post to carry on the essential business of voter registration and preparations for the elections.
The current SNEC members are:
Appointments confirmed by the House on 2 June 2007:
- Mr Jama Mohamed Egeh (61 votes for, 5 abstaining).
- Mr Ahmed Mohamed Haji Dahir (58 for, 1 against, 7 abstaining).
- Mr Hirsi Haji Ali Hassan (54 for, 3 against, 9 abstaining). (Resigned on 6 May 2008) and replaced by Mr Ali Mohamad Abdillahi, whose appointment was confirmed by the House of Representatives on 20 May 2008, by a vote of 58 for and none against, with no absentions.
- Mr Mohamed Ismail Mohamed (52 for, 14 abstaining).
- Mr Mohamed Yusuf Ahmed (43 for, 4 against, 22 abstaining).
Final appointments confirmed on 3 September 2007:
- Mr Ismail Muse Nur (63 votes for, none against and no abstentions).
- Mr Hassan Mohamed Omer (62 votes for, none against and no abstentions).
The term of office of the Commission is 5 years, which according to Article 11(1)(c) begins “the date the House of Representatives approves of its appointment”.
On 23 September 2007, the commission elected Mr Mohamed Yusuf Ahmed as its Chairman and Mr Hirsi Haji Ali Hassan as its Deputy Chairman. With the first Chairman and the Deputy both resigning, the current Chairman (as at 29 July 2008) is Mr Mohamed Ismail Mohamed .
(For the list of the previous Commission members, click here)
For more details of the Commission’s work, please visit its website: National Electoral Commission
The details of Somaliland Electoral Laws. Elections & Observers’ Reports, are available at this main page: Electoral Laws
ELECTORAL NEWS & DEVELOPMENTS:
Postponement of the elections Accord: 7 October 2007
The Somaliland NEC announced on 11 October 2007 an accord agreed upon by all the three parties on 7 October 2007, which stated the following:
1. All voter registration should be completed by 10 June 2008.
2. Elections for local district council which should have taken place in December 2007 shall now be conducted on 1 July 2008.
3. The Elections for the President of Somaliland to be held in April 2008 will be postponed to 31 August 2008.
4. Any issues relating to the above, which arise in the future, shall be resolved through dialogue and consensus.
Extension of the term of office of the District Councils: 12 December 2007
There are no constitutional or legal provisions which give the House of Elders power to extend the term of office of local councils (or for that matter their own term of office), but the House assumed such a power, at the request of the President, and on 12 December 2007 passed a motion (on a vote of 47 for, 1 against and 2 abstaining) to extend the term of office of the District authorities which was due to expire in December 2007 to 1 July 2008, so as to bring it in line with the terms of the SNEC/political parties accord. No similar proposal was put to the House in connection with the delayed presidential election - the House has the power under Article 83(5) of the Constitution to extend the term of office of the President & Vice President but only in exceptional circumstances where the election cannot be “because of security considerations”. This has raised concerns that a longer extension of the presidential term of office may be in the offing!
It has been my consistent view that all these (and the past) extensions of the terms of office necessitated by failures to arrange the elections on time should be dealt with by either constitutional amendments or, where appropriate, as in local councils, by amendments to the relevant laws. Both of these options involve decision making on the part of the President and BOTH Houses and not just the President and the House of Elders only (Editor)