Sixteen more MPs elected to Lower House from four states in Somalia

A delegate casts her vote during the electoral process to choose members of the Lower House of the Federal Parliament in Cadaado, Somalia on November 22, 2016. UN Photo

23 Nov 2016

Sixteen more MPs elected to Lower House from four states in Somalia

A total of 16 members of parliament (MPs) were elected to the House of the People in voting across the country today, bringing the number of elected lawmakers in the lower chamber of Somalia’s federal parliament to 131, or nearly half the total of 275 seats.

Voting resumed in Jowhar, the administrative capital of HirShabelle state today, after a temporary suspension, following a shooting incident between the bodyguards of two rival candidates on 18 November.

Five MPs were elected to the House of the People – as the lower chamber of the federal parliament is officially called -- in today’s balloting, which was held under tight security.

“We are moving well and we hope to finish the process on time,” HirShabelle State-Level Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (SIEIT) spokesperson Osman Bareey said.

Among the MPs elected was Samira Hassan Abdulle, an incumbent lawmaker who ran for a seat reserved for only women candidates. She garnered the votes of all 51 electoral college delegates who cast ballots for the seat.  

“We’ve come from far and we are progressing well,” she said.

HirShabelle has to date elected 14 members to the House of the People out of an allocation of 37 seats.

Speaking in Kismaayo, Somali Police Force (SPF) Commissioner Maj. Gen. Mohamud Sheikh Hassan Hamud confirmed that two suspects had been arrested in connection with last Friday’s shooting incident in Jowhar.

“The case has to go to court for further action. We have arrested two individuals who are currently in custody in Jowhar as investigations continue,” Gen. Mohamud stated.

On Sunday, the SPF Commissioner and the head of the National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA) Gen. Abdullahi Gafow Mohamud visited Jowhar, where the Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General and the African Union Commission Chairperson for Somalia had gone to intervene in the conflict between the two rival candidates. The federal Attorney General has opened an investigation into the incident.

In Baidoa, the administrative capital of South West state, seven candidates, all of whom are incumbent MPs, were elected to the House of the People.

Delegates who voted today came from Lower Shabelle region with the logistical assistance of the United Nations. “The UN has wholeheartedly supported us in this process,” said elder Ugas Warsame Ali Suley. “They continue to support our country on so many levels so Somalia can prosper.”

Among those elected was 27-year-old Ahmed Omar Islow, an incumbent MP from the Wacdan clan who took over his father’s seat in the federal parliament two years ago when the latter passed away.

“We hope to make the new parliament a very efficient one,” said Mr. Islow.

South West state has an allocation of 69 seats, the largest of any state in the House of the People. To date, 38 seats have been filled and the SIEIT hopes to conclude elections for the remaining seats within the next seven days.

In Galmudug state, three candidates were elected to the House of the People, two of whom are newcomers to politics.

“I promise to deliver on my campaign pledges,” MP-elect Abdikarim Khalif Abdi told journalists.

Today’s balloting in the state capital of Cadaado raised the number of MPs elected to the lower chamber from Galmudug to 21 out of an allocation of 36 seats.

One election also took place in Kismaayo, the capital of Jubbaland state, and the seat was won by Ali Osman Hirsi, a political newcomer from the Dir-Mandaluug clan.