Somaliland President, Muse Bihi Abdi, moved the scheduled time re-open political associations forward by two years.
The President in his State of the Union address, Tuesday, declared that the country was presently a political crossroads which necessitated the adoption of difficult decisions to break the existing elections stalemate.
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“Existing opposition political parties have so vehemently opposed the former National Electoral Commission (NEC) commissioners for two years pronouncing that they will never agree to them conducting another election. When their time finished and a new, legally processed commission came to office, they, again, started protesting against it,” he stated.
“In light of these developments, to hold elections seems to be under the mercy of political bickering,” he stated, adding, “This leaves me no option but to bring forward the re-opening of political associations”.
The President asked the joint session of parliamentarians to ‘apply their constitutional powers” once his official request and proposed amendments to the scheduled term of existing political parties reach them.
Article 9 (2) of the national Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland limits political parties to 3. Any number of associations can run for supremacy at local councils elections but only the three top-most in popularity and seats are recognized as national parties with a term of 10 years.
Following the declarations of intent regarding political associations, a number of leading figures among the opposition parties welcomed the gesture, hailing it as a possible ice-breaker.
Hersi Ali Haji Hassan, Waddani ‘Leader”, Mohamed Arrale Duur, another executive member of the same part and an ex-minister, and Abdinassir Yusuf Osman ‘Qodax”, Secretary-General of UCID party, were among those who favorably received the President’s call.
Somalia media, however, echoing other elements within the same opposition parties, fanned it to a stage where they accused the President of targeting the main opposition party, Waddani, wishing to kick it out of commission in the final screening of associations.
What Somaliland does not realize is that for a party that has managed to attract 40% of electorate votes, it is hard to shove aside unless it breaks into many smaller associations.