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Election 2016: Somaliland delegates invoke 1960 pact, call for 50/50 split of parliamentary seats

Storyline:National News

The ongoing consultative forum on the 2016 electoral option yesterday took a different turn when delegates from Somaliland opted out of the four ways proposed and instead flouted a proposal for a 50-50 split of parliamentary seats with the South.

The 750 delegates including members of the Federal Parliament, civil society leaders and participants from all walks of life said Somaliland enjoyed an equal status with the rest of Somalia in line with the 1960 Act of the Union agreement.

Following the granting of independence to the British Somaliland and the Italian controlled south in 1960, the two territories joined together to form the Republic of Somalia in July 1st of that year. However as a result of collapse of government in 1991, Somaliland charted its own cause to pursue self independence.

Currently, Somaliland has 61 members at the Federal Parliament. A split in the middle would therefore mean the self declared independent region would go with an average 137 MPs leaving the other five regions to share the remaining 137 out of the total 275.

The National Consultative Forum , which is the body tasked with identifying the best possible option for election of members of parliament next year had proposed four options among them, the political party system, district electoral college system based on the 1991 districts (92 in total) or the regional administrations electoral college option. They also proposed the 4.5 system which was used in 2012, a system drawn from the clan distribution in Somalia.

But the introduction of a new model by Somaliland delegates will be the Forum’s next issue to reconcile with the other options settled for by other regional states.

The delegates said an equal share of seats between Somaliland and the south was the only viable option which could help resolve differences between them. “We came here to share our views with you and the option we are proposing is based on an agreement signed many years ago,” said one of the delegates.