SRSG Keating emphasizes importance of meeting parliamentary quota for women in Puntland following initial round of voting for Lower House
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia Michael Keating reminded Puntland electoral officials and stakeholders of their obligation to achieve the 30 per cent quota of seats for women in Somalia’s future parliament during a visit to the Puntland state capital today.
Mr. Keating earlier met with Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas during a visit to the port city of Bossaso yesterday to discuss the crisis in the disputed city of Gaalkacyo.
Puntland state has been allocated 37 seats in the House of the People, as the lower house of parliament is officially called. Voting was held for an initial batch of a dozen seats in that chamber on 5 and 6 November, and all of the winning candidates were male.
Another 25 members of parliament will be elected to the House of the People from Puntland. A minimum of 10 seats should be reserved only for women candidates if Puntland stands any chance of meeting the parliamentary gender quota, which was established by the National Leadership Forum.
Mr. Keating urged Puntland state electoral officials to fulfill this requirement. “One concern is whether Puntland will meet the quota for women,” SRSG Keating said. “This is a big issue.”
He also emphasized the need to hold the elections on time and “in conditions of safety”.Three of the 11 candidates elected to the Upper House from Puntland in voting last month are women.
During his visit to Bossaso yesterday, Mr. Keating urged Puntland President Gaas and his Galmudug counterpart Abdikarim Hussein Guled to put an end to the renewed fighting in Gaalkacyo during an impromptu teleconference.
“We had a conference call with all of them in which President Abdiweli Gaas instructed his military commander and President Abdikarim Guled instructed his military commander to implement the ceasefire,” said the SRSG. “We have all agreed to meet at some point later this week in Gaalkacyo to address the issues that are causing this conflict and to see how they can be resolved.”
International partners issued a joint press statement last week welcoming an agreement reached in Abu Dhabi by Presidents Guled and Gaas on 1 November to end fighting that erupted in Gaalkacyo in October. But an agreed ceasefire collapsed on 6 November amid a resumption of heavy fighting in Gaalkacyo between Puntland and Galmudug forces, and residents in the city reported a fresh outbreak of violence on its western outskirts earlier today.