7 August 2012

Somalia: Puntland Passes District Electoral Law

Garowe, Somalia — Puntland Parliament passed a district electoral law on Tuesday, that will begin registering election polls in districts across Puntland, Garowe Online reports.

The parliament met at its headquarters in Garowe early Tuesday morning to debate and vote on the proposed law.

The district electoral law states that every district in Puntland will have elections.

Currently Puntland is made up of 37 districts; however their boundaries have not been authoritatively proclaimed which led to discussions of how the district elections would occur.

"The deliberations on Tuesday were to discuss how the district electoral elections would begin when some districts' boundaries are not clearly defined," said Speaker of Parliament Abdirashid Mohamed.

After a passionate debate MPs agreed initially to instate the law in the original 21 districts during Siad Barre's regime, while other districts would define boundaries and hold elections at a later date.

Out of 56 MPs, 42 voted in favor of the law while 14 opposed the law.

Although parliament passed the law on Tuesday, Abdisalan Sheikh Mohamud Shaybe, a veteran of Puntland politics and an MP who was a pivotal figure in lobbying to get the law passed, did not see Tuesday's historic moment in Puntland politics.

MP Shaybe was shot killed outside a mosque on Monday by two assailants who escaped from the scene.

Shaybe was very vocal in transitioning Puntland politics from clan based to a democracy based one and had swayed other MPs in parliament to agree to setup an electoral law in districts.

Puntland Intelligence sources say that for his outspokenness and outlook that he had been a target of Al Shabaab elements that are against the transition to a democracy based system.

MPs in parliament on Tuesday said a prayer for MP Shaybe who according to Speaker of Parliament Abdirashid was a "martyr" who died for a just cause.

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