Twenty-five years have passed since the foundation of Puntland, and one would expect it to be in a better position than it is today. While Puntland has overcome various challenges over the years and made significant progress, it has consistently faced obstacles hindering the establishment of a comprehensive governance system and political transformation.
As the government’s term and the parliamentary term come to an end, the local council elections remain in draft form. The three constitutional parties have yet to finalize, the government has proposed constitutional changes to the parliament. Unfortunately, this has sparked a violent conflict in the capital of Puntland, resulting in significant losses. As of now, no consensus has been reached on the way forward, emphasising the need for a political solution that satisfies all parties involved.
To ensure the upcoming party elections are conducted with mutual agreement, it is essential to establish a COMPREHENSIVE APPENDIX FOR DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS.
Complete political participation: According to the constitution of Puntland, local council elections should be held simultaneously across all districts of Puntland. The election results will determine the three parties that will govern the country for the next ten years. However, a legal debate arises from the fact that two entire provinces and four districts have not held any elections. To address these challenges, a political agreement based on mutual consent and the preparation of the fifth Appendix is required to complete the democratic process in Puntland. This Appendix proposes the following points to enhance political participation and ensure no one is left behind:
- Complete the local elections in the three districts of Garowe, Dan-Goroyo, and Godob-jiran.
- Each political organisation registered in Puntland, out of the nine (9) existing organisations, will become a political party if they have at least one member in the local council elections across thirty-six (36) districts. These parties will then participate in the next House of Representatives election.
- Any party that fails to secure MPs in the House of Representatives election will revert to being a political organisation until the next election.
- The House of Representatives election will take place in four regions: Bari + (Karkar and Gardafu), Sanaag + (Haylan), Nugal, and Mudug. The total number of seats in these regions is 49.
- In a special circumstance, MPs from Sool and Ayn regions, as well as two MPs excluded from the Sanaag region, will be selected by either:
- Voting along party lines during the swearing-in process as members of the Puntland Assembly, since elections cannot be held in the Sool and Ayn regions.
- Allocating seats based on the parties’ percentage of votes received in the region where elections took place.
- Allocating seats based on the parties’ percentage of votes received in the general elections held in the four regions: Bari, Sanaag, Nugaal, and Mudug.
- Transition Puntland Elections Commission (TPEC) is responsible for completing the ongoing elections and conducting the Puntland House of Representatives elections. The committee’s existence depends on the House of Representatives elections and prohibits the replacement of resigning or deceased members.
- Presidential Election: The presidential election process is as follows:
- In the former parliamentary system, the President is elected by the 49 members of parliament elected by the people through the party system, along with the 17 members of parliament from Sool and Ayn regions. This approach ensures equality, allowing any candidate from the political parties or an independent candidate to seek votes from the members of Parliament.
- The President and vice-president is elected by the people from the four regions: Bari + (Karkar and Gardafu), Sanaag + (Haylaan), Nugal, and Mudug. However, a separate agreement governs the Sool/Ayn regions.
- Transparency of Elections: The current president is a candidate and also leads a political organisation. To ensure the credibility of the election, it is crucial that the administration of the election remains impartial. This includes transferring the responsibility for election security and financing directly to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Puntland.”
The proposed timeline for the electoral activities is as follows:
|1||Conducting elections in the districts of Garowe, Dan-Goroyo, and Godob-jiran||July – August 2023|
|2||Preparing the law for the election of the House of Representatives||July – August 2023|
|3||Re-registering unregistered voters and distributing remaining voter cards||Oct – Nov 2023|
|4||Organizing seats at the regional level as the election of MPs takes place in each region, with MPs directly elected||Nov 2023|
|5||Selecting 15 MPs for Sool and Ayn regions using the existing system||December 2023|
|6||Election of Members of the House of Representatives||December 2023|
|7||Presidential election in Puntland||8 January 2024|
By Ismail S Aw-Musse
Email: aumusse (@)gmail.com