HOUSE OF ELDERS TERM OF OFFICE EXTENSION
Under Article 58(2) of the Somaliland Constitution, the term of office of the House of Elders is six years from the date of its first meeting, and as the current House was elected at the constituent assembly at the 1997 Hargeisa Grand Conference of the Somaliland Communities, its term of office was due to finish in April/May 2003. Unlike Article 42(3) of the Constitution which allows extension of the term of office of the House of Representatives by a Resolution of the House of Elders, there is no provision in the Constitution for extending the term of office of the latter House.
In March 2003, the Government submitted to the House of Representatives a Bill relating to the Indirect Elections of the members of the House of Elders. This proved to be controversial and the House of Representatives decided on 27 March 2003 that it will put the Bill to one side, for the moment, but it will it will approve a single clause (clause 19) in the Bill which which states as follows:
“If the indirect elections of the House of Elders can not take place because of dire circumstances or because of the practical arrangements, the House of Representatives, on receipt of the President’s reasoned proposals, shall consider how long the circumstances will be overcome and shall reach a resolution thereof”
Of the 42 members attending the meeting of the Representatives, 41 voted for this proposal and 1 voted against. It was said in the debate that this one clause law will be the “key” to extend the term of the current House ofElders, but the debate on the remainder of the Bill was postponed. The House of Elders also, of course, approved the one clause (clause 19).
The House of Representatives also considered another Presidential proposal, which, this time appeared in the form of a Presidential Decree (Decree No: 105 of 27 March 2003) , and which stated the following:
“The President of the Republic of Somaliland
Having seen Article 90, clause 1 of the Somaliland Constitution;
Considering the provisions of the “law” on the indirect elections of the House of Elders;
Recognising that the planned budget cannot extend to both the Presidential and the parliamentary elections;
Aware of the fast approaching end of the term of office of the House of Elders;
Having seen the Resolutions of both Houses approving Clause 19;
Proposes that term of office of Elders must always expire one year after that of the House of the Representatives and that of the President”.
This proposal was approved by the House of Representatives on a vote of 51 votes for with none against and no abstentions.
This, therefore means that when the House of Elders extended the term of office House of Representatives in 2003 for two years from 16 May 2003 to 16 May 2005 and then again in 2005 for 143 days to 15 October 2005, the Elders term was automatically extended and will expire a year afterwards – i.e now, 15 October 2006.
Here is the Text of the single Article Law and the Presidential Decree in Somali
Qodobkan oo ay hore labada Gole ee Baarlamaanka Somaliland [Guurtida iyo Wakiillada] u anxisiyeen, waxa nuxurkiisu u dhigan yahay sidan:
Haddii ay timaaddo duruuf adag ama mid farsamo awgood Madaxweynaha ayaa soo jeedinaya in muddada loo kordhiyo Golaha Guurtida, isaga oo sababaynaya, ka dibna Golaha Wakiillada ayaa qiimaynaya muddada duruuftaa lagaga baxayo, xaaladdaasna go’aan ka gaadhaya.”
Golaha Wakiillada ee looga codeeyey waxaa fadhiyey 51 mudane, waxaanay dhammaantooda ku oggolaadeen codkooda “Haa,” cid diiday iyo cid ka aamustay midna ma jirin.
Golaha Wakiillada waxay kaloo ansisixiyeen Xeerkan Madaxweyne oo loo soo gudbiyey Golaha, kaas oo soo baxay 27 March, 2003, kuna saabsan dhaqangelinta qodobka 19aad ee xeerka doorashada dadban ee Golaha Guurtida, waxa uu ku bilaabay sidan;
“Xeer Madaxweyne No. 105 oo soo baxay 27 March, 2003, kuna saabsanaa soo jeedinta kordhinta muddada xilka Golaha Guurtida.
Madaxweynaha Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland
Markuu arkay qodobka 90aad, farqadiisa 1aad ee Distoorka Somaliland;
Markuu tixgeliyey qodobadii shuruucda dadban ee Golaha Guurtida;
Markuu aqoonsaday miisaaniyaddii ku talo-galka in aanay wada fulin Karin doorashooyinka Madaxtooyada iyo Goleyaasha Qaranka;
Markuu arkay inay gabaabsi tahay muddadii xilka Golaha Guurtida;
Markuu arkay go’aankii Golaha Wakiillada iyo Guurtidu ku ansixiyeen qodobka 19aad;
Waxa uu soo jeedinayaa in muddada Golaha Guurtida mar kasta ay sannad ka dambeeyaan Golaha Wakiillada iyo Madaxtooyada.”