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Somalia earns U.N's accolades on bicameral parliament poll deal

Somalia earns U.N's accolades on bicameral parliament poll deal

Somalia

Somalia has turned a page in UN’s good books. The organisation’s Special Representative for Somalia Michael Keating told the Security Council on Thursday (January 28) that the country’s government had agreed on a model for the electoral process to establish a new, bicameral federal parliament in 2016.

The model envisages a lower house of 275 members, based on a current power-sharing formula between clans, and an upper house of 54 members, based on equal representation of existing, emerging and prospective federal states and an allocation of additional seats to breakaway regions of Somaliland and Puntland.

“This morning a decision was taken by the Somali Cabinet on the electoral model to be used later this year. This is the culmination of almost six months intense consultations. It may be a watershed moment, marking the growing political maturity of a federal Somalia,” he said.

The model envisages a lower house of 275 members, based on a current power-sharing formula between clans, and an upper house of 54 members.

Somalia is slowly recovering from two decades of conflict. A military campaign has driven Islamist rebels out of major strongholds and some refugees have begun returning home but efforts to rebuild the state have stalled.

After the optimism that followed the 2012 election many diplomats had hoped for a “one person, one vote” system in 2016, but progress has been dented by frequent attacks by al Shabaab militants, as well as political infighting and corruption.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in July that the country would not be able to hold a popular vote for its planned 2016 elections.

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