Somaliland parliament reaches agreement to end political tension

Publication date: 
Feb 20 2014

After several weeks of political infighting that has divided the Somaliland region's lower house of parliament, representatives on Wednesday (February 19th) reached an agreement to break the political impasse.

The political tension in parliament started January 27th when the House of Representatives passed a bill that aimed to weaken the power of the two deputy speakers by reducing the number of votes needed to unseat them from 55 to 42, while retaining the two-thirds majority needed to remove the speaker. The tension escalated February 9th when more than 50 lawmakers proposed to reduce the number of votes necessary to remove all three speakers to 42.

On Wednesday, a delegation from the House of Elders, the upper house of parliament, announced an agreement was reached, which stipulates that the speaker and his two deputies each be removed from office by 42 votes; that there should be be no motion of dismissal brought against the speaker and his two deputies for the remainder of the parliament's term unless they fail to fulfill their duties in a manner consistent with the by-laws and the country's constitution; and that the House of Representatives will enter an eight-week recess as of Wednesday.

"It has been said that a decision cannot make two men happy at the same time … Nobility is in the acceptance of the side whose idea was rejected … What is required is the fulfillment of the promises you make," said chairman of the permanent sub-committee of the upper house and oldest traditional elder in Somaliland Haji Abdikarim Hussein Yusuf, also known as Abdi Waraabe, who mediated talks between opposing parties.

"The issue was resolved through mutual understanding and trust, and I have accepted that decision," Speaker of the House Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi told reporters when he concluded the session.

To show their satisfaction with the agreement, the speaker, his two deputies Bashe Mohamed Farah and Ali Yusuf Ahmed, and the delegation from the House of Elders met with President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo who thanked the delegation from the House of Elders for their efforts to resolve the conflict.