Following the resignation and effective disbandment of the last National Election Commissioners, the President of the Republic of Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi has submitted the seven member list of the new Election Commission to Parliament for approval.
The composition of the six male and one female commissioners are nominated among stake holders where the President nominated three, the Guurti or House of Elders have nominated two members and the two opposition members of Waddani and UCID have nominated one each.
Unlike the last commission, whose nomination were mired by major dispute between the opposition parties and the government which took months of mediation, the swift nomination and the lack of opposition to its composition may signal political fatigue or a new level of maturity among Somaliland’s political stake holders.
It is unclear if any of the new commissioners will face hurdles in Parliament, which despite the opposition holding majority including the speakership, has so far been very generous with its ratification of various officials nominated by President Bihi.
New Commissioners include Mr. Muse Haji Hassan Yusuf, the current Chairman of Somaliland’s Quality Control Commission, its unclear if his nomination to the Election Commission is part of a major reshuffle that President Bihi is reported to announce.
Political uncertainly has been on the rise recently in Somaliland where the opposition parties have called for a nation-wide protests and accused the President of seeking a term extension by nullifying existing parties before their mandate and meddling in the Election Commission. Government and its supporters accuse the Waddani and UCID political parties of continuing the status quo to ensure their political survival.
Efforts to mediate the government and opposition parties are underway and initial concessions include halt to nation-wide protests by the opposition and release of all those detained following Thursday’s protests in Hargeisa.
Voter registration are among the efforts currently delayed by the disbandment of the former Election Commissioners, its unclear if the new commissioners will be able to complete the election logistics in time for November 2022.