Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland is set to extend the political party formation period to allow more people to take part in the exercise.
Speaking to journalists on Saturday, Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) chairman Mohamed Hassan Bare said that the political registration time will be extended by three weeks.
Mr. Bare said the extension came in the wee hours after consultations between key players in Puntland agreed the process needed more time. He noted some of the civilians urged his commission to extend the multiparty formation term.
It was 8 months ago when the Puntland adopted a draft constitution paving the way for multiparty system. So far three political associations have been announced in the pirate infested region including Horseed Party chaired by President Abdirahman Farole. The region made several reforms as it strides towards democracy transition and ending almost two decades of tribal power sharing system.
Mr. Bare noted the electoral body also halved the required $15,000 registration fees to enable more people to register parties. He said now the required amount stood only $7,500. Some local residents however indicated that the fees were allowed due to lack of interest in the multiparty system which is completely new to Puntland.
The process towards forming political associations comes at a time when President Farole’s term is set to end in less than three months. Mr. Farole recently indicated that he wanted to extend his tenure against the wishes of some of his supporters and oppositions. This led to major political confrontation between him and the former Somali prime minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, who is from the region. His announcement also angered many people in major towns in Puntland including Gardo where Farole’s troops clashed with protesters just weeks ago.
Along with this dispute the region is currently suffering from major security problem as al Qaeda affiliated groups pour in from southern Somalia. Al Shabab fighters fleeing the offensive in the south led by AMISOM are taking safe heaven in Puntland. It was just days ago when they killed 12 troops in the region.