Somaliland: Guurti Allotted Election Dates Valid”, Constitutional Court


Somaliland party leaders outdside the constitutional court in Hargeisa

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – presidential and Parliamentary elections in the country shall be held on the 28th March 2017 as originally slated by Guurti the upper chambers of the Somaliland parliament.

This was announcement was made after a decision reached by a 12 member bench of the constitutional court chaired by Chief Justice Aden Haji Ali in Hargeisa following week long deliberations.

This decision brings to a close the political dispute emanating from postponed elections originally slated for 26th June 2015 that pitted opposition parties against the government and Guurti.

The dispute that revolved around two divergent polls date emanating from Guurti which not only scheduled 27th April 2017 but extended the tenure of the president and parliament to the same and the one of December 2016 agreed by the three national political parties of ruling Kulmiye and the two opposition ones of UCID and Wadani respectively.

The court thus became involved upon request by President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo for interpretation of the constitution as related to which among the antagonists (Guurti and Political Parties) had mandate to allocate election dates in the country.

During the courts announcement of its decision reached after listening to submissions by the political parties, Civil society Organizations, and the national election commission as well perusal of written submission by Guurti was made in the presence of officials from the above institutions.

In its ruling the constitutional court justices justified their involvement in arbitrating the dispute and subsequent decision as per its judgment notes, in Somali language, that read

Quote- Decision of the High Court

The Constitutional Court Republic of Somaliland

Guided by Article 98, Section 1B of the Constitution that stipulates that the judiciary has the authority to interpret laws emanating from parliament, and section 1J that gives it the authority to arbitrate any dispute emanating from the constitution.

Guided by Article 15 of the constitution that dictates the Somaliland Judiciary procedures, Section 1B that stipulates on the procedures to arbitrate disputes emanating from interpretation of the constitution and Section 11 that empowers the Constitutional court with authority to arbitrate wrangles between various entities as pertains divergent constitutional understanding.

In reference to a presidential letter # JSL/MD/100-3450/082015, and dated 08/08/2015 requesting legal interpretation from the Constitutional court.

In reference to the 04/05/2015 Guurti decision Ref/G/G/JSL/ dated 11/05/2015 extending the presidential and parliamentary terms

In reference to the Kulmiye, Wadani and UCID tripartite political parties’ agreement witnessed by the Somaliland vice president dated 27/05/2015


Having Considered That the presidential request for legal interpretation pertained SOLELY to the two different election dates set by the Guurti and three national political partiesHaving Considered That the president did not request interpretation of whether the Guurti term extension for the Head of state, Vice president and Parliament’s House of Representatives conformed with the constitution, a decision never in contention by any of the antagonists Having considered that the political parties never presented their jointly concurred election dates proposal to the Guurti before Elders of the upper chamber of parliament made their decision while Article 1 of the tripartite parties’ agreement state that the three national remained respectful of the elders’ decision. That the National Election Commission had officially confirmed that due to technical encumbrances it was unable to conduct the polls as slated on the 26th June 2016. Having considered that the elective five years term of the president, vice president and Members of parliament had expired and subsequent term extension by Guurti which is legal as per stipulations of Article 83 section 5 and Article 42 Section 3 of the constitution of Somaliland. Considering equal legal authority bestowed upon the executive and legislative councils as pertains to Elections time framing as per dictates of the 2001 constitutional referendum. ( The justices here gave a number of past similar examples undertaken jointly by the two councils) and In lieu of the fact, upon inability to conduct elections as slated Article 83 section 5 and Article 42 Section 3 of the constitution of Somaliland bestows Guurti elders with powers to extend expired terms of the executive and House of representatives accordingly.

To that effect the Republic of Somaliland Constitutional Court after interpretation of the constitution adjudicates that:

In conformity with Article 5 Section B of the Guurti decision legalized by Article 83 section 5 and Article 42 Sections 2& 3 of the constitution of Somaliland Presidential and parliamentary elections in the country shall be held a month before expiry of the 27/04/2017 extended tenure of House of Representatives and Executive. The Guurti having refused to reverse its term extension decision dated 11/05/2015, the court has nullified the tripartite agreement between the national political parties of KULMIYE, WADDANI and UCID dated 27/05/2015 for it has no legal standing.The court hereby rules that presidential and parliamentary elections shall be held on 28/03/2017 which is a month before expiry on27/04/2017 of the Guurti extended tenure for the executive and legislature, the National Election Commission official adopt this date and the head of state to issue a presidential decree as per dictates of Article 8 of Law #/20/2001. And The court rules that the expired five years elective term of the president , vice president and house of representative members and the tenure extension by Guurti necessitated by postponed elections is legal and valid as stipulated by Article 83 section 5 and Article 42 Section 3 of the constitution of Somaliland

· This ruling has been issued by this court on this day of 18/8/2015

After interpretation by a bench composed of:

Chief Justice Adam Haji Ali Ahmed – Chairperson Justice Mohamed Omar Geele – Member Justice Abdiqadir Ahmed Mahmud – Member Justice Mohamed Farah Saeed-Member Justice Ahmed Diriye Qalib -member Justice Ali-shuaib Sheik Ibrahim Nuur –Member Justice Abdirahman Jama Hayaan-Member Justice Abdilahi Abdi Aden- Member Justice Yahya Ali Idiris – Member Justice Abdirahman Hussein Ayaan-Member Justice Abdirahman Hasan Nuur-Member Sahra Ismail Abdilahi – Legal Clerk

· Unquote- The translation of the court’s transcript is by Somalilandsun and any errors are solely those of this site. Click to download Somali language version

Copyright: Somalilandsun, 2015.