25 December 2013

Somalia: Opposition Presidential Candidates Agree to Work With Puntland Election Vetting Committee

21 opposition candidates who are competing for Puntland presidency agreed to work with Vetting and Conflict Resolution committee members for first time following series of discussions on Wednesday, Garowe Online reports.

The presidential candidates said in press statement that they accepted the legitimacy of the vetting committee whose members were appointed by Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed in accordance with the State Constitution and Presidential decrees issued by former Puntland presidents on December 3.

"We together agreed that we want credible and fair election, we agreed on the oversight committee with two conditions; The members of parliament to be selected in consultation with the traditional leaders who founded Puntland State in 1991 and any dispute that could emerge during the parliamentary selection process to be transferred to Puntland election 2008, clan elders," the statement noted.

Ali Haji Warsame, Opposition candidates spokesman told reporters in Garowe that they will closely work with the commander of Puntland defense forces and election security head Gen. Said Mohamed Hirsi (Said Dheere).

Puntland people expressed their pleasure about the latest development, saying the opposition candidates' decision is just a step on the road ahead.

The Committee is tasked with approving new MPs to the Puntland Parliament, submitted by Puntland's titled elders.

Dispute over the conflict resolution and vetting committee emerged when President Farole received 17 contenders who are running for the state's two top political positions at the State House with Vice President Gen. Abdisamad Ali Shire present two weeks ago.

Clan elders from various regions in Puntland have been gathering in Garowe to monitor the parliamentary and presidential elections and ease the oversight committee deadlock.

Farole is vying for the second term in office against over dozen presidential contenders including former Transitional Federal Government of Somalia's Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas.

Puntland, located in northeastern Somalia has held three presidential elections in 1998, 2005 and 2009 and the region escaped the upheavals that ravaged southern Somalia during the last two decades of chaos.

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