Garowe — The parliamentary election committee in Somalia's Puntland state has declared criteria for candidates competing for the offices of Puntland President and Vice President in 2014 election next week, Garowe Online reports.
MP Saadiq Abshir Garaad, chairman of parliament's election committee, told a press conference Sunday in the Puntland capital of Garowe that all candidates must meet the criteria set by the committee.
"All candidates for positions of President and Vice President of Puntland must satisfy all requirements established under Article 78 of Puntland Constitution," said MP Garaad.
In particular, Article 78 of Puntland Constitution requires all presidential candidates to be Puntland natives, a practicing Muslim, mentality sane, older than age 40, not married to a foreigner, with educational, experience and leadership credentials, and has lived in Puntland over the past two years.
Moreover, MP Garaad announced that the election committee has decided to collect a registration fee of US$10,000.00 for president candidates, and $5,000.00 for vice president candidates. In 2009 election, the registration fee was $5,000.00 for president and $2,500.00 for vice president.
"All candidates must sign a document clearly stating that they will accept the election result, recognize and cooperate with Puntland's new election leadership," said MP Garaad, adding: "Any candidate that refuses to sign this document will not enter parliament hall on January 8, 2014".
On January 1, the 66-member Puntland Parliament was sworn-in at a ceremony attended by Puntland government leaders, former president, presidential candidates, titled elders, and Islamic clerics, among others. On January 4, Puntland MPs elected Mr. Said Hassan Shire, a former Puntland government minister, as the state's new parliament Speaker.
Puntland's fourth presidential election is slated for January 8, 2014.
Puntland is a stable territory in northern Somalia with a functioning government that supports a federal structure to reunite the fragmented parts of Somalia. Since August 5, 2013, Puntland government suspended all relations with Mogadishu-based Federal Government of Somalia over a constitutional dispute.