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Somaliland parliament approves election law ending months-long electoral dispute

Sunday October 1, 2023

Hargeisa (HOL) - The Somaliland House of Representatives unanimously approved on Saturday the election laws, bringing an end to the long-standing electoral dispute following a meeting in Hargeisa.

Lawmaker Abdinasir Qodax, a parliamentary committee member responsible for amending the existing electoral law, stated that specific provisions were modified before receiving full approval from the lawmakers.

"We have made changes to the general election law and national voters' registration. Initially, it consisted of 154 articles, but we have added 13 new articles," stated MP Kodax.

Lawmaker Abdinasir Qodax emphasized that the parliament also amended 35 law articles. He highlighted that the revised electoral law grants greater independence and authority to the election committee for conducting elections.

However, the government and opposition leaders agreed to hold the presidential and political organization elections on the same day, specifically on November 13, 2024. A committee of traditional elders brokered this agreement to break the stalemate over elections.

The central point of contention between the government and the opposition was the sequencing of political organization elections and the presidential election. President Bihi advocates for the election of political organizations to precede the presidential election, a stance that has met reluctance from the opposition.

A week ago, the United States government applauded the political agreement in the Somaliland election dispute. This endorsement came after U.S. Embassy Mogadishu Chargé d'Affaires Shane Dixon concluded a visit to Hargeisa to meet with key political figures. The United States encouraged the adoption of a political agreement proposed by clan elders, viewing it as a positive step toward achieving free and fair elections.