In a statement issued by the National Leadership Forum (NLF) today, the group announced that it has reversed its decision to increase the number of members in the Upper House after fierce criticism from opponents at home and a blistering rebuke by the international community.
Following talks in Mogadishu last week, the NLF issued a communique stating that the group agreed to expand the Upper House by 18 seats, bringing the total number of members to 72. The Somali Constitution only currently only allows for 54 seats; amendments to either house must be done only through a parliamentary vote.
The decision to by-pass the constitutional procedure was met with anger at home and led to a joint statement by regional and world bodies as well as a number of western nations who said they were “gravely concerned about the decisions made by the NLF.
The international joint statement also criticized the NLFs decision to only re-run voting for 5 of the 24 parliamentary seats that were flagged by the electoral body for corruption, intimidation and violence and other forms of electoral malpractice. The latest statement by the NLF did not say whether they would re-run any more additional votes beyond those 5 seats.
Although the amendment is not completely scrapped, the NLF decided that it would postpone it until a sitting parliament can vote, this cannot happen until after the presidential election.
the group urged acting Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke to request the new parliament to make the amendment to Article 72 of the Somali Provisional Constitutional a top priority.