What is the 2016 electoral process for?

Under the Provisional Federal Constitution, the mandates of the Federal Parliament and of the President of the Federal Republic end in 2016.  A political transition is therefore necessary to re-constitute and re-legitimize the country’s political institutions.  As universal elections are not yet possible in Somalia, an electoral process has been developed to facilitate enhanced political participation, compared to 2012, with an eye towards universal elections by 2020.  The new Federal Parliament will consist of 275 members of the House of the People and 58 members of the Upper House of Parliament.

How are the seats for the House of the People of the Federal Parliament of Somalia allocated?

As agreed as a result of Somalia’s national consultative process in 2015, the new Federal Parliament will be constituted on the basis of a mix of community and geography.  The 275 seats of the House of the People will remain distributed in accordance with the 4.5 power-sharing formula between the clans.  These seats will also be distributed between the existing and emerging federal member states. Electoral colleges will then elect the 275 members of the House of the People.

How are the seats for the Upper House of the Federal Parliament of Somalia allocated?

The Upper House will represent the existing and emerging federal member states.  Upon nomination by the state executives of at least two candidates for each seat, the state assemblies will elect the 58 members of the Upper House. The State Assemblies will vote for each seat individually, with special arrangements for Benadir and Somaliland.

When is the voting for the 2016 electoral process taking place?

All Regional Administration Presidents to submit the list of their candidates for the Upper house by October 5, 2016.

The dispute resolution committee to start operations by October 8, 2016.

Delegate lists for the House of the People election to be completed by October 10, 2016.

House of the People elections to be held between October 23 and November 10, 2016. All seats which have delegates ready by then will have their elections held within this period.

Speakers for both Houses of Parliament to be elected on November 23, 2016.

When will the President be elected?

The President will be elected on November 30, 2016. by members of both Houses of Parliament, in accordance with the Provisional Federal Constitution.

Will everyone be able to vote in the upcoming 2016 electoral process?

No. The 2016 electoral process is not a universal suffrage election, as conditions are not yet in place for a one-person, one-vote ballot. Instead, a system of indirect elections will take place to identify the 275 MPs.

In particular, 275 electoral colleges, each consisting of 51 delegates selected by the 135 Traditional Elders, will elect the 275 members of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament of Somalia. A total of 14,025 delegates will be selected.

How are the electoral colleges delegates appointed?

The delegates are selected by the 135 Traditional Elders in consultation with sub-clan elders (nabadoonand samadoono) and represent all sub-clans sharing the respective seat.

What is the role of the clan elders?

The 135 Traditional Elders will be responsible for selecting delegates from their communities to form electoral colleges according to specific criteria. For each college, out of 51 delegates there is a requirement to have at least 16 women and 10 youth.

How will candidates be able to contest a seat?

Any Somali citizen belonging to the sub-clans sharing a particular seat and who is at least 25 years old and has a high school degree or equivalent experience will be eligible to apply to be registered as candidate. In addition, each male candidate will need to pay a $5,000 registration fee whereas a female candidate will need to pay $2,500.

Where will the electoral colleges be located?

The voting will take place in the state capitals or seats of government of the existing and emerging federal member states, i.e. Adado, Baidoa, Garowe, and Kismayo, as well as in Mogadishu for Benadir and Somalilanders.  The location for the election of members of Parliament from Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions is yet to be decided.

Who will administer these elections?

The Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) is responsible for the oversight and overall planning of the electoral process and for ensuring its uniformity.  This temporary body consists of 22 members who are professionals from a range of backgrounds.  Ten FIEIT members were appointed by the Federal Government while 12 were appointed by the existing and emerging federal member states. Seven of the 22 members are women (32 per cent).

At state level, six State Indirect Electoral Implementation Teams (SIEITs) have also been established to conduct the electoral process in the established and emerging federal member states. A SIEIT will also be formed for Benadir.  Each SIEIT consists of 11 members, eight of them are appointed by the federal member states and three by the Federal Government.  The terms of office of the FIEIT and the SIEITs will end after the 2016 final election results are published.

When will Somalia have (one-person, one-vote) universal elections?

It is expected that (one-person, one-vote) universal elections will take place in 2020. Those elections will be administered by Somalia’s National Independent Electoral Commission, which was established in July 2015.

How is the 2016 electoral process different from the 2012 selection process?

Members of two houses of parliament will be selected in this year’s electoral process, whereas in 2012 a parliament consisting of a single house was elected. Seats in the current parliament were allocated in 2012 through the clan-based 4.5 power-sharing formula, but this year seats in the Upper House of the new parliament have been allocated on the basis of states and regions. Over a hundred times more Somalis will participate in this year’s process than was the case in 2012. That year 135 traditional elders elected the members of the current parliament, whereas in 2016 14,025 members distributed among 275 electoral colleges will choose the members of the House of the People. The parliamentary voting four years ago took place exclusively in Mogadishu, but this year voting will occur in at least six cities nationwide including Mogadishu. Voting for the House of the People will be by secret ballot. Members of electoral colleges and the state assemblies will be able to choose between different candidates for seats in the House of the People and the Upper House, respectively.