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Somalia: The First Two-House Parliament, Six-State Federalism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Somalia lawmakers raise their hands during a confidence vote on Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, at the Parliament Building in Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 6, 2014, A.P

Mogadishu- A new parliament will be announced next month in Somalia consisting of an Upper House and a Lower House (House of the People). Somalia has not had a popularly-elected government since 1969.

The new Federal Parliament of Somalia, encompassing six states, is considered a first since independence. However, Somalia’s president was elected by the house of the people solely as the federal bylaw was a part of the temporary constitution and was not in effect during the 2012 elections.

In 2012, President Hassan won the election through a complicated process. A group of 135 clan elders selected 275 members of parliament (MPs) and those MPs then voted for a presidential candidate. Parliament has yet to approve the electoral law for the vote planned for August, but in its current form, the franchise would be extended to 50 elders who would choose an MP for each parliamentary post.

The central government reached agreements with heads of state as to the outline that will guide any future administration, to be announced next month. The new statehood will be bound by a six-state composed federalism.

As for the parliament, it was agreed that the Upper House will comprise 56 seats to be assigned to members selected according to the representation of acknowledged federal states. Currently extensive political negotiations are being held among politicians to secure more seats for the controversial capital Mogadishu.

The House of the People will comprise 275 seats who will be assigned to those elected by the 4.5 clan based election model.

The electoral model was developed over its 2012 version, which accredited only 135 tribal members to select parliamentary candidates, however, without exiting the 4.5 clan based model.

The members of the Lower House will be picked through the clan-power sharing model known as the 4.5 Formula, giving the four major groups equal shares, while a coalition of smaller ones will share half the allocation.

Since Somalia declared last year that the one-man, one-vote system was not achievable due to various factors including insecurity, the leaders chose an alternative modalities to select a 54-member Upper House and a 275-member Lower House; which led to Somali leaders agreeing on an electoral process for a parliament composed of the Upper and a Lower house (House of Representatives).