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|Rayale Appeases MPs Opposed to Early Legislative Elections|
Rayaleís Position on Next Legislative Elections May Undermine Somalilandís Democratic Process and Chances of Recognition
Hargeisa (SL Times) - In a meeting held Thursday with a large group of members of Parliament, Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin has not shown any sign of support for the popular demands calling for early legislative elections.
According to well informed sources, the impression that the President conveyed when the issue of the next parliamentary elections came up during the meeting, was that he would covertly support the position of sitting legislators who openly oppose the holding of early elections out of the fear that they may lose their seats.
The meeting which was solicited by the President came after the House of Representatives last week rejected the confirmation of 5 members of Rayaleís newly formed Cabinet. Among those who failed to win confirmation were Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, re-appointed in his former post as Minister of Information, and Qassem Sh. Yusuf, nominated to become Minister of Water & Mineral Resources and formerly Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Abdillahi Duale was the longest serving member of the Egal/Rayale administration while Qassem held ministerial positions in the administrations of Abdirahman Tur, Egal and Rayale.
The Parliamentarians didnít cite any formal justifications for withholding their vote of confidence from only 5 appointees out of a long list of about 50 ministers and assistant ministers. But it is widely known in legislative circles that the voting behavior of the MPs was simply intended to send a message to President Rayale that their support hinges on his non-acceptance of early legislative elections. Mr. Rayale, who obviously succumbed to the bullying of the disgruntled MPs, has reportedly told the group that his position on the issue was to support legality. This was interpreted by observers as meaning that he will not call for parliamentary elections until the term of the present legislature expires.
The Presidentís position is likely to bring to the surface a conviction held by many supporters of early legislative elections that, constitutionally, the current parliament has no longer any basis of legality to remain in office. Somalilandís opposition parties, UCID and KULMIYE, both support the idea of holding early parliamentary elections. This is an urgent matter for the opposition because it is only through parliamentary elections that they can have seats in the parliament. The lack of early legislative election will render the political system in the country as one based on one party rule.
Somalilandís international partners in the democratic process have also indicated support for early Parliamentarian elections, and promised assistance for all aspects of the process. Many international observers also believe that the sooner Somaliland completes its democratic process by holding the parliamentarian elections, the better its prospects for gaining recognition.