Garowe(Mogadishu24)-Puntland State Committee on vetting and approval of Members of Parliament has on Monday announced the list of new members of the Puntland Parliament, which includes the 17 members from SSC-Khatumo region.

The announcement of this parliamentary list was delayed until after the morning prayer, following huge controversy surrounding the selection process.

The opposition candidates have not yet commented on the list. However, last night, they claimed that President Deni had improperly interfered with the seats and the list selected by the communities, asserting that he removed community-chosen members of parliament from the list.

MP Farah Yusuf Jama Dalmar, a prisoner in Somaliland captured in the war in Sool last year, appeared in the parliamentary list.

This announcement comes a week after SSC-Khatumo’s interim administration decided not to participate in Puntland elections. Consequently, 17 members of parliament from the region will be excluded from the elections.

Community leaders and Puntland State Vice President Ahmed Karaash strongly welcomed SSC-Khatumo’s decision not to select the 17 representatives for the Puntland parliament.

They emphasized their full support for holding elections with 49 members, respecting the decisions of the community living in that region.

A week earlier, President Deni had declared that the election would involve 66 MPs, a move that the opposition said it involved handpicking 17 SSC Members of Parliament from his close allies.

In December, President Said Abdullahi Deni announced Puntland’s return to the clan-based voting system on January 8, 2024, following mounting pressure from the opposition and elders’ intervention regarding the disputed one-person-one-vote elections system.

The clan-based election system involves the selection of 66 MPs by clan elders to represent them in the House of Representatives, initially including the 17 SSC-Khatumo MPs. Subsequently, these Members of Parliament would elect the president.

Electoral issues in Puntland have been surrounded by controversies over the past four months, with disputes arising between the opposition, community elders, and the administration over electoral amendments.

Armed forces allied to the opposition, and government forces clashed on June 20, 2023, killing over 30 people and injuring 50 others, mostly civilians.

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