Somaliland Opposition Parties Condemn HoR, Guurti Self-Extended Terms

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The Somaliland opposition parties of UCID and Waddani withdraw cooperation with Electoral Commission, accuse President Bihi of dictatorial practices

Today, Sunday, the upper house of the Somaliland bicameral parliament – the Guurti, extended itself three more years and extended the House of Representatives’ (HoR) ten-month ‘technical extension’ brokered earlier in the year to two additional years.

Today’s extensions, according to the opposition parties would make the Guurti the longest sitting house of parliament without democratic elections in its 24-year ‘default term’ and an over-stay of 14 years to the HoR.

Reacting to Sunday’s devastating extensions, the opposition parties declared that they have withdrawn all cooperation with the newly passed Electoral Commission and trust on the leadership of President Musa Bihi.

“The President has unveiled dictatorial tactics of leadership that augur ill for the democratic maturity of the nations as they also cast an ominous shroud of uncertainty on the future of the whole nation,’ Hirsi Ali Haji Hassan, ‘leader’ of Waddani party stated at a press conference the opposition parties held at Waddani’s HQ.

Together, UCID and Waddani released a joint Communique in which the parties expressed disappointment of how the democratic process of the country has been sabotaged by the Guurti on the ‘behest’ of the presidency.

“The President has hijacked the nation’s democratic course. The President has supplanted the traditional consensus among parties on critical issues such as extensions necessitated by circumstances with dictatorial excesses adversely affecting the nation,” the statement said.

The parties, the statement said, would in no way accept the extensions passed today, calling them not only illegal but a complete abnegation of an enviable democratic personality so painfully nurtured through the years making an unrecognized Somaliland stand tall even among older, more established diplomatically recognized countries of the world.

The Guurti and HoR extensions have paralyzed the whole nation on shocking disbelief.

They were not wholly unexpected, however. Analysts have prophesied it.

On 12 November, the Representatives overwhelmingly approved three Commission members whom the President appointed. Opposition parties and legal observers pointed out, prior to their submission to the parliament, that all three fell short either of constitutional requisites or represented a blatant abrogation of consensus agreements reached by the three national parties which included the disbandment of the old commission and election of fresh commissioners.

Critics stated that the HoR was promised a Guurti extension if they passed the asterisk-marked commissioners.

Out of 71 Guurti members present at today’s session, 70 approved the extensions. The 71st was the Chairman, Suleiman Mohamoud Adan, and he did not vote.

International partners on the election process have also interceded with the President not to insist on submitting the controversial members to the House which he sidestepping request of the dismayed delegates.

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