Somalia’s presidential candidates have expressed concerned over the decision of Somali Nation Leadership Forum (NLF) to increase the number of Upper House seats to seventy two.
In a statement jointly issued by six presidential candidates, they said the expansion of the number is gross violation of Somalia’s provisional constitution.
“According to the provisional constitution article 72, the number of the Upper House shall not be more than fifty four based on the eighteen regions that existed before 1991. Therefore, this violated the constitution,” said the statement.
Abdirahman Abdishakur, Abdikadir Osoble, Jibril Ibrahim Abdulle, Saed Abdulahi Deni, Mohamed Ahmed Tarsan and Mohamed Ali Americo said in the statement that the number of senatorial seats which increased from 54 to 72 is politically inconceivable to undertake in midst of electoral process that is already shrouded in corruption, manipulation and secrecy.
“Worst yet, The NLF agreed the additional member to be handpicked by the regional presidents provided by the final approval the federal president,” said the presidential aspirants.
The candidates warned that the move might potentially lead a new political crisis that could likely precipitate distrust among Somali clan.
The sentiment comes barely a day after International community said it gravely concerned over a number of decisions announced by the National Leadership Forum (NLF) in its communiqué dated 24 December 2016.
The community said it wishes to see the electoral process go forward with the existing 54 seats in the Upper House as stipulated under Somalia’s Provisional Constitution.
“Any further expansion of the Upper House should only be contemplated after the presidential vote has been held in the new federal parliament and implemented through a proper constitutional process,” said the statement issued by international community.