Mogadishu – Somalia’s federal electoral law has now been approved by the House of the People and was signed into law by the President on 20 February. This law is part of the essential electoral legislative framework required so one-person-one-vote national elections that allow as many citizens as possible to vote can take place on time.
While this is an important step, more work needs to be done to address many outstanding questions necessary to implement the code. Somalia’s international partners* recognize the responsibility accorded to the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) to implement the electoral law and stress the urgency of all Somali stakeholders – including the Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States, the Federal Parliament, and political parties – to cooperate with and support the NIEC as it embarks on the task of implementing the electoral law.
The partners recall their many discussions with the Speakers of both Houses of the Federal Parliament, as well as the NIEC, the President and the Prime Minister, during which they drew their attention to aspects of the law that need to be clarified. These include the identification of constituencies and allocation of seats to the constituencies, identifying which seats in Parliament will be reserved for women to ensure a minimum 30 per cent representation, modalities for electing the seats allocated for Somalilanders, and the representation of residents of theBenadir region in the Parliament. The partners call on the Federal Parliament, in collaboration with the NIEC, and in consultation with the Federal Government of Somalia, the Federal Member States and other stakeholders, to resolve these urgently.
The partners also consider the Political Parties Law as part of the essential legal framework required to enable elections to take place on time. They therefore emphasize the importance of prioritizing consideration and adoption of the amendments to this law by the Federal Parliament.
The partners emphasize that the holding of credible elections for the Federal Parliament and the Federal President on time, in keeping with the Provisional Federal Constitution, is critical for Somalia’s political stability.
The partners emphasize the urgency of full cooperation between the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States in order to achieve these and other national priorities.
* African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Belgium, Denmark, European Union, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Italy, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Nations and United States.