Voting for Lower House begins in Puntland State

A lady delegate casts her vote during the electoral process to choose members of the Lower House of the Somali Parliament in Garowe, Puntland, Somalia on November 05, 2016. UNSOM Photo.

5 Nov 2016

Voting for Lower House begins in Puntland State

Puntland has become the first federal member state to start elections for the federal parliament’s House of the People.

Voting kicked off early today in Garowe, Puntland’s administrative capital.  A total of 37 members of the House of the People will be elected in Puntland by a like number of electoral colleges, each of which consists of 51 delegates.

A dozen seats in the House of the People were at stake in today’s voting, and 612 delegates chosen for 12 electoral colleges cast ballots.

“Today’s process was smooth. We did not register any problems. We will continue with the elections tomorrow,” said Burhan IImi Hirsi, a member of Puntland’s State-level Indirect Electoral Implementation Team.

Election observers expressed satisfaction with the manner in which today’s voting was conducted.

“I can confirm that I have witnessed an election that is fair and that went according to plan. The delegates and the electoral officials are people of high integrity and they executed their duties fairly.  From what I have seen today, I am convinced that Somalia is ready for the one-person-one-vote elections (in 2020),” said election observer Amina Mohamed, from Puntland Development Research Centre (PDRC).

“Today’s election is one of the best I have ever seen, it was calm and fair. I had taken part in elections before, but this is different and this is the one that we needed to have,” said Ibada Farah Ali, an electoral college delegate.

Four other federal member states -- HirShabelle, Jubbaland, South-West State and Galmudug -- will also participate in the House of the People elections along with Somaliland and the Banadir region.

When the 2016 electoral process has been completed, 275 members will have been elected nationwide to the House of the People.