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Puntland elects 3 women senators as Somalia polls heat up

Somalia Members of Parliament hold their hands up during a special assembly in Mogadishu on May 1, 2021.

AFP
Puntland state of Somalia has become the latest federal region to elect its senators as the race to choose new legislators in the country’s bicameral parliament continues to heat up.

On Wednesday, Puntland, Somalia’s oldest federal member state, made history by electing three women among the11 senators who will join the Upper House for the 11th Parliament.

The election followed a controversial nomination list presented by state President Said Abdullahi Deni.

The contest itself ended earlier than expected. Nine senators were elected unopposed after their opponents quit the race.

There was competition in only two seats and in both cases, winners scored more than 80 per cent of the vote by the local legislative assembly.

On Tuesday, Mr Deni had issued a list of 22 candidates to contest the 11 seats, including three exclusively allocated for women.

Candidates dropped

The outcome of the voting by the legislators in the local parliament in Garowe town, some 1000km northeast of Mogadishu on Wednesday produced eight male senators and three female victors.

The three women are Ms Zeinab Ismael Mohamed ‘Timbiye,’ Ms Samira Mohamoud Haji Awad and Ms Saredo Mohamed Hassan ‘Jayte’.

Puntland’s new senators include its former President Abdurahman Mohamed Farole, who was reelected to the seat, and former Vice-President Mohamed Ali Yusuf ‘Gaagaab.’

The stakeholders of Somalia’s election process had agreed to allocate 30 per cent of the all the seats in the bicameral parliament for women in a bid to ensure inclusivity.

So far, three states, Puntland Jubbaland and South West, have held senate elections.

Two women and three men were elected to federal Upper House by the parliament of the South West State while Jubbaland elected four men. Galmudug and Hirshabelle states, Jubbaland and South West are allocated eight senate seats each were expected to conduct their elections anytime from now.

But South West and Jubbaland conducted partial elections as clans bickered over who should contest. Names of some of the contestants have also been controversially dropped. The affected candidates are those perceived to be opposed to the federal state leaders.

Election process

Mr Deni dropped two outgoing senators in the nomination list, sparking protests from their supporters.

Meanwhile, the President of Galmudug State in Central Somalia Ahmed Abdi Karie Qoorqoor has issued a list containing 12 names to compete for six seats to the Upper House.

The list announced early of Wednesday contains two seats to be exclusively contested by four women. Since the state’s allocation is eight seats, the candidates for two seats remain pending like the four seats left pending by Jubbaland and three seats by the South West.

The Speaker of Galmudug’s parliament, Dr Mohamed Nur Ga’al, announced that the election for the six seats will take place on Thursday.

“Galmudug legislators will vote for the 12 candidates on Thursday, 12 August,” Dr Ga’al said.

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who is currently visiting Kenya, had urged all the five federal member states to accelerate the election process. – nation.co.ke