Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Somaliland: Elders Urge Compromise in Parliamentary Rift

The upper house of parliament in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland on Monday endorsed an opposition-backed speaker whose election last week sparked scuffles among lawmakers.
In addition, the Guurti - composed of unelected Somaliland elders - urged President Dahir Riyale Kahin, whose ruling Union of Democrats (UDUB) party had opposed the selection of Abdullahi Irro as speaker, to accept its decision.

"The Council of Elders endorsed the election of the speaker of parliament and two deputies, all from the opposition," said UDUB lawmaker AbdulKadir Jirbe.

"We have accepted it and are calling on the president do the same," he told AFP.
In a statement, the Guurti urged Kahin to follow the lead of his party's lawmakers and back down on its opposition to Irro's election, which had been met with fistfights in the lower house.

Irro, backed by the opposition Kulmiye (Solidarity) and UCID (Justice and Welfare) parties, was elected on Wednesday despite UDUB claims that the move was illegal because it came after parliament's adjournment.

The rift had threatened to overshadow successful legislative elections Somaliland held in September in which the UDUB won 33 of the 82 seats while Kulmiye and the UCID took 28 and 21 seats respectively.

The vote, the enclave's third multi-party polls, was held amid high hopes it would herald international recognition for Somaliland which seceded from Somalia proper in 1991 after the ouster of strongman Mohamed Siad Barre.

While much of Somalia has disintegrated into lawlessness without any functioning central government, Somaliland has remained relatively peaceful with a homegrown administration in charge.

Despite its demands, the international community has refused to recognize the self-declared republic, fearing it could further destabilize the anarchic nation of 10 million.

Source: IOL

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