Women win four of six Lower House seats in South West State

A delegate casts her vote during the electoral process to choose members of the Lower House of the Somali federal Parliament in Baidoa, Somalia on 24 November 2016. UN Photo

24 Nov 2016

Women win four of six Lower House seats in South West State

Four women were elected to the House of the People today in the administrative capital of South West state.

Today’s results bring to nine the number of women elected to the lower chamber from South West state, out of a total of 49 seats that have been filled to date.

Unofficial tallies indicate that 151 of the 275 seats in the House of the People have been voted on nationwide, and 28 women are among the elected members of parliament (MPs).

One of the female MPs-elect is a newcomer to politics, 27-year old Safia Hassan Noor of the Jiido clan. She received 46 votes for a seat that was reserved for only women candidates.

“I hope to use my position to contribute to the development of my community,” said Ms. Noor after being declared the winning candidate.

Another MP-elect, Amina Sheikh Osman defeated 2 male opponents and a female candidate to win her seat with 39 votes out of a possible 51. Her closest opponent Mustaf Ahmed Lidow received only 9 votes.

A visibly elated Ms. Osman said it was the first time in 20 years that her Biyamaal Daadow clan had voted to send a woman to the parliament.

“I would like to thank my clan for the choice they made today,” Amina said. “My equally immense gratitude goes to the international community, the federal government and ISWA (Interim South West Administration) for their strong push in ensuring that the 30 per cent quota for women is achieved.”

The other victorious women candidates included Amina Hassan Ali, who defeated a male opponent by receiving 49 votes, and Nadiifo Adan Isak, who garnered 48 votes for a seat reserved exclusively for female hopefuls.

Salad Ali Atosh of the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) described the election of four women in Baidoa in a single day as an important breakthrough in Somalia’s ongoing electoral process.

“The great news is about the four female MPs who got elected today. This has given us a renewed drive for ensuring the established quota is accomplished,” said Mr. Atosh.

He commended South West state electoral officials for working long hours to prepare balloting for the many seats at stake. The state’s 69 seats in the House of the People is by far the largest allocation nationwide, and hundreds of delegates have journeyed from distant locations in the Lower Shabelle region to take part in the voting in Baidoa.

The South West State-Level Indirect Electoral Implementation Team hopes to conduct voting for the state’s remaining 20 seats in the House of the People within the next seven days.