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MOGADISHU (HAN) January 9.2017 Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. Upper House elections for Somaliland and northern regions commenced today in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Six seats out of eleven, allocated for Somaliland and the northern regions were filled in a daylong exercise presided over by the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT).

Five more seats will be filled by the end of the week, according to the electoral oversight body. “Today’s election is a historic one as it demonstrates that Somalia’s Upper House is inclusive of all regions and it has representation all over the country,” FIEIT Chairperson Omar Mohamed Abdulle said. A total of 45 delegates participated in the exercise.

“The absence of these regions could have damaged the legitimacy of the Upper House. The distribution of the Upper House seats was based on regions so that each region gets representatives who will build relationships with other regions as well as with the federal government,” Abdulle added, noting that the Upper House would provide a platform to debate the sharing of natural resources between the regional states and the federal government.

Seasoned journalist Muna Omar Hassan is among the MPs-elect. Muna was the sole woman MP elected during the first phase of the exercise.

“I was motivated to join politics by the desire to find solutions to the plight of Somali journalists,” Muna, a journalist with 16 years experience, said.

Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, a seasoned politician who was also a member of the 9th federal parliament of Somalia, Muhiyadin Sheikh Ali, Mustafa Mohamed Qodah, Abdikarim Mohamed Hassan and Abdirisaq Ahmed Ali, a retired army General, are the other MPs-elect who emerged victorious in the balloting exercise.

“Parliament is the foundation of the government as it makes the laws and keeps the government in check. Our laws are fragmented and vague, hence it needs reconstitution. I am very hopeful that the current Upper House will address a lot of these issues,” MP-elect Hashi stated.

“I stand for the unity of Somalia with a new vision that is distinctively different. We want to build a new Somalia from scratch, based on federalism, by uniting the Northern and Southern regions of Somalia,” Retired General Abdirisaq Ahmed Ali said.

Somaliland and northern regions were allocated eleven seats in the Upper House and forty-six seats in the House of the People. So far, six members of the Upper House and 39 members of the House of the People have been elected.

It is hoped that the remaining seats will be filled by the end of the week.

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