SOMALIA: Lower House elections begin in Puntland

Puntland has become the first regional state to start parliamentary elections for the Lower House.

Voting kicked off early today in Garowe, Puntland’s administrative capital, where 306 members of the Electoral College will elect members of the Lower House.

“Today’s process was smooth. We did not register any problems. We will continue with the elections tomorrow,” said Burhan IImi Hirsi, a member of the State-level Indirect Electoral Implementation Team.

37 electoral colleges are expected to participate in the process of electing 37 members of the Lower House in Puntland state.

Election observers expressed satisfaction with the manner in which the elections have been handled.

“I can confirm that I have witnessed an election that is fair and that went according to plan. The delegates and the electoral officials are people of high integrity and executed their duties fairly. From what I have seen today, I am convinced that Somalia is ready for the one-person-one-vote elections,” Ms. Amina Mohamed, an election observer said.

“Today’s election is one of the best I have ever seen, it was calm and fair. I had taken part in elections before, but this is different and this is the one that we needed to have,” Ibada Farah Ali, a delegate and member of the electoral college said.

Four other regional states; HirShabelle, Jubbaland, South-West State and Galmudug, will also participate in the Lower House elections.

The electoral process will see a total of 275 members elected to the Lower House. Both the Lower and Upper Houses of parliament will elect Somalia’s next president in polls due at the end of November.