Fact sheet on Somalia’s 2016 electoral process
The contents of this fact sheet are drawn from decisions that were reached about the electoral process during last year’s series of nationwide consultations about electoral model options and subsequent meetings of the National Leadership Forum. These decisions are contained in the Mogadishu Declaration of the National Consultative Forum issued on 16 December 2015 , communiqués issued by the National Leadership Forum on 12 April, 3 June, 25 June, 9 August and 14 September, 2016, and a press statement issued by the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team on 26 September 2016.
What is the 2016 electoral process for?
Under the Provisional Federal Constitution, the mandates of the Federal Parliament and of the President of the Federal Republic end in 2016. A political transition is therefore necessary to re-constitute and re-legitimize the country’s political institutions. As universal elections are not yet possible in Somalia, an electoral process has been developed to facilitate enhanced political participation, compared to 2012, with an eye towards universal elections by 2020. The new Federal Parliament will consist of 275 members of the House of the People and 54 members of the Upper House of Parliament.
How are the seats for the House of the People of the Federal Parliament of Somalia allocated?
As agreed as a result of Somalia’s national consultative process in 2015, the new Federal Parliament will be constituted on the basis of a mix of community and geography. The 275 seats of the House of the People will remain distributed in accordance with the 4.5 power-sharing formula between the clans. These seats will also be distributed between the existing and emerging federal member states. One of every three seats in the House of the People will be contested exclusively by women. Electoral colleges will then elect the 275 members of the House of the People.
How are the seats for the Upper House of the Federal Parliament of Somalia allocated?
The Upper House will represent the existing and emerging federal member states. Upon nomination by the state executives of at least two candidates for each seat, the state assemblies will elect the 54 members of the Upper House. The State Assemblies will vote for each seat individually, with special arrangements for Somaliland and the Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions. Each regional state will reserve 30 per cent of its seats in the Upper House for exclusively female candidates.
When is the voting for the 2016 electoral process taking place?
The voting for the members of the Upper House of the Federal Parliament of Somalia is scheduled to take place on 10 October 2016. The lists of candidates for the Upper House must be submitted by 5 October.
The voting for the members of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament of Somalia will take place between 23 October and 10 November 2016. The lists of the electoral college delegates who will vote on candidates for the House of the People must be submitted by 10 October.
When will the President be elected?
The President will be elected on 30 November by members of both Houses of Parliament, in accordance with the Provisional Federal Constitution.
Will everyone be able to vote in the upcoming 2016 electoral process?
No. The 2016 electoral process is not a universal suffrage election, as conditions are not yet in place for a one-person, one-vote ballot. Instead, a system of indirect elections will take place to identify the 275 MPs.
In particular, 275 electoral colleges, each consisting of 51 delegates selected by the 135 Traditional Elders, will elect the 275 members of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament of Somalia. A total of 14,025 delegates will be selected.
How are the electoral colleges delegates appointed?
The delegates are selected by the 135 Traditional Elders in consultation with sub-clan elders (nabadoon and samadoono) and represent all sub-clans sharing the respective seat.
What is the role of the clan elders?
The 135 Traditional Elders will be responsible for selecting delegates from their communities to form electoral colleges according to specific criteria. For each college, out of 51 delegates there is a requirement to have at least 16 women and 10 youth.
What are the criteria for candidates wishing to contest a seat?
Any Somali citizen belonging to the sub-clans sharing a particular seat and who is at least 25 years old and has a high school degree or equivalent experience will be eligible to apply to be registered as a candidate for a seat in the House of the People. In addition, each male candidate for a seat in the House of the People will need to pay a $5,000 registration fee whereas a female candidate for the House of the People will need to pay $2,500.
A male candidate for a seat in the Upper House will need to pay a $10,000 registration fee whereas a female candidate will need to pay $5,000.
Where will the electoral colleges be located?
The voting will take place in the state capitals or seats of government of the existing and emerging federal member states, i.e. Cadaado, Baidoa, Garowe, and Kismaayo, as well as in Mogadishu for Benadir and Somalilanders. The location for the election of members of Parliament from Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions is yet to be decided.
Who will administer these elections?
The Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) is responsible for the oversight and overall planning of the electoral process and for ensuring its uniformity. This temporary body consists of 22 members who are professionals from a range of backgrounds. Ten FIEIT members were appointed by the Federal Government while 12 were appointed by the existing and emerging federal member states. Seven of the 22 members are women (32 per cent).
At state level, six State Indirect Electoral Implementation Teams (SIEITs) have also been established to conduct the electoral process in the established and emerging federal member states. Each SIEIT consists of 11 members, eight of them are appointed by the federal member states and three by the Federal Government. The terms of office of the FIEIT and the SIEITs will end after the 2016 final election results are published.
When will Somalia have (one-person, one-vote) universal elections?
It is expected that (one-person, one-vote) universal elections will take place in 2020. Those elections will be administered by Somalia’s National Independent Electoral Commission, which was established in July 2015.
How is the 2016 electoral process different from the 2012 selection process?
Members of two houses of parliament will be selected in this year’s electoral process, whereas in 2012 a parliament consisting of a single house was elected. Seats in the current parliament were allocated in 2012 through the clan-based 4.5 power-sharing formula, but this year seats in the Upper House of the new parliament have been allocated on the basis of states and regions. Over a hundred times more Somalis will participate in this year’s process than was the case in 2012. That year 135 traditional elders elected the members of the current parliament, whereas in 2016 14,025 members distributed among 275 electoral colleges will choose the members of the House of the People. The parliamentary voting four years ago took place exclusively in Mogadishu, but this year voting will occur in at least six cities nationwide including Mogadishu. Voting for the House of the People will be by secret ballot. Members of electoral colleges and the state assemblies will be able to choose between different candidates for seats in the House of the People and the Upper House, respectively.