Somalia: Somaliland gets new speaker in chaotic election

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Abdirizak Khalif is a former remittance firm manager and two-time minister from Sool region [File photo]

HARGEISA, Somalia - Somaliland's parliament on Tuesday elected a new speaker, in a chaotic session which was preceded by oath-taking of MPs, who were elected in May during an election in the secessionist region of Somalia.

Abdirizak Khalif, a candidate from the opposition WADDANI party elected as new Somaliland parliament Speaker, defeating Yasin Faraton from ruling KULMIYE party and former Foreign minister by 42 to 39 votes.

Yasin Faratoon is a close ally of President Muse Bihi Abdi, the de facto leader of the Kulmiye party, which has been ruling the region for quite a while. In May, Muse Bihi's team lost parliamentary polls to a rejuvenated opposition but was keen to capture the speaker's seat.

The new House speaker is a businessman who joined politics in 2009, held ministerial posts twice during President Silanyo's administration before moving from the Kulmiye to WADDANI in 2015 along with Hirsi, ex-state minister for Somaliland presidency.

Said Mire Farah was elected as first deputy speaker of Somaliland parliament while Ali Hamud becomes the second deputy speaker. This effectively means the ruling Kulmiye party lost House leadership to the opposition.

When the MPs were busy picking their new leaders, Somaliland's TV cut off live coverage of their swearing-in after Chaos in the new parliament. After the recent election, WADDANI had reportedly struck a deal with UCID to lead the House by sharing the leadership positions.

The disorder began after opposition MPs rejected Yassin Faratoon, a Kulmiye candidate for speaker took over the chairing seat on an interim basis. The opposition demanded that a neutral person, who could conduct the session.

In May, the opposition through Waddani and UCID parties won a combined 52 seats of the 82 in contention while the ruling Kulmiye party managed only 30 seats. Overall, Waddani had 31 seats across Somaliland.

The outcome on Tuesday signifies that the ruling party Kulmiye's flag bearer, current President Muse Bihi Abdi is facing a reelection debacle in which Waddani leader Abdirahman Irro is a leading contender in 2022.

GAROWE ONLINE

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