Garowe(Mogadishu24)-Puntland State President Said Abdullahi Deni announced on Wednesday night that Puntland will return to the clan-based voting system on 8th January 2024, following mounting pressure from the opposition and elders’ intervention regarding the disputed one-person-one-vote elections system.

The clan-based elections system involves the selection of 66 MPs by clan elders to represent them in the House of Representatives. These Members of Parliament will then elect the president.

In a press conference, President Deni stated that he has withdrawn his decision to implement democratic regional elections to avoid further tensions.

“Despite the success of our democratic elections, which brought together different segments of our population, it is regrettable that I have made a decision with which I am not happy with.”

“Considering the safety of our people and the well-being of Puntland State, I would like to announce that elections in Puntland will take place on 8th January 2024. The 66 members of the parliament will be selected by their respective clan delegates,” he declared.

The president further stated that the decision is not suitable for the interest of the people of Puntland and urged them to elect their preferred candidate.

“This decision is not good for the future of Puntland, but with the absence of democratic elections, I would urge them to elect their preferred candidate without any tensions,” he added.

He also mentioned that he will forward the report to the House of the People and appoint a committee on the implementation of the electoral process.

“I announce that I will forward the request to the House of Representatives to produce the reports and notice of the process, and as soon as possible, I will appoint a committee to manage the electoral process,” Deni said.

This comes a week after the president appointed a seven-member committee for negotiations on electoral issues amid escalated tensions between the government and opposition politicians.

Earlier this week, he held a conference with leaders of the Political Parties to discuss the disputed one-person-one-vote election system.

Somalia’s international partners have expressed grave concerns and called for calm and peaceful dialogue between the president and the opposition.

On Saturday, Britain’s ambassador to Somalia, Mike Nithavrianakis, visited Garowe and discussed electoral issues and ways to find resolutions through dialogue with Puntland State President and other key political figures.

“In Garowe, I met a wide range of political associations and opposition. I listened to their suggestions for resolving disagreements on elections. Advancing the electoral process peacefully is crucial to stability in Puntland. This can only be achieved through dialogue,” Amb. Mike said.

Armed forces allied to the opposition, and government forces clashed on 20th June this year, causing the death of over 30 people, and 50 others mostly civilians injured.

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