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Published On: Sat, May 9th, 2015

Somaliland:Correction on the Publications of the Official version of the Voter Registration (Amendments & Additions) Law – State Counsel

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State CounselBy Goth Mohamed Goth

Somaliland Chief State Counsel (Garyaqaanka Guud) Mr. Idle Ibrahim Saleban has revealed the need for corrections on the wrongly printed official publications of law of the country issue # 12 concerning elections laws.

The correction which is now underway touches on a Corrigendum of the Voter Registration (Amendments & Additions) Law.

The corrections follow the text of the Law published at the HoR Website on 31 March 2015 whilst the January gazetted version followed to the version of the Law previously published at the HoR Website in January 2015.

Details of the corrections:

08/05/2015: The Somaliland Official Gazette 02 May 2015 (Issue 4) published a Corrigendum of the Voter Registration (Amendments & Additions) Law which was previously published in Issue 12 of the Gazette dated 03 January 2015 (see below). For an English language of summary of the corrections see below.

In summary:

  • The Final correct version of the Law is therefore the 31 March 2015 HoR website version (large pdf file – see below).
  • A consolidated copy of the Gazetted January version AND the Gazetted May Corrigendum which we have prepared is available here: Consolidated Gazetted & Corrected Voter Registration (Amendments & Additions) Law (in Somali pdf 19 pages ). This is essentially a reproduction of the 31 March HoR website version.

Press Release (08/05/2015) (in Somali) by the Chief State Counsel (Garyaqaanka Guud) about the Corrigendum in the Somaliland Official Gazette, Issue 4 of 2 May 2015, relating to Voter Registration (Amendments & Additions) Law.

 

15/04/2015: UPDATE: A new text of the Voters Registration (Amendments & Additions) Law has been published at the House of Representatives (HoR) website on 31 March 2015, which replaced the earlier final text  that was previously available at HoR website. The text on the whole the same is the same as the one as before, but it is different in a few places from both the previously HoR published final text (which appeared at the HoR in early January 2015) and also the official text of the Law published in the Somaliland Official Gazette on 03/1/2015 (Issue 12 of 2014) (see below for these earlier versions).  There are, as yet,  no official explanations so far as to  how all this came about, but apparently  a FINAL official corrected text will be appearing in the next Somaliland Official Gazette to be published  early next month (May) as a corrigendum (correction).  (See above, now – 08/05/2015)

 

In the meantime, a copy of the Law which now appears at the HoR website is available at Somalilandlaw .com: Wax ka bedelaka & Kaabista Xeerka Diiwangelinta Codbixiyaaha (Xeer Lr. 37/2007). (This It is a very large pdf file – and is the final correct copy of the Law – 08/05/215 – see above for a smaller copy as gazetted). (To be published at Somalilandlaw .com).

Our comparison of the new HoR text of the Law and the previously published texts  of the final Law show that some of the differences are typographical corrections, but a few others are substantive changes to the previously texts.

 

  1. Article 2 Definitions:

“The Register”  and “The General Register” which were both  relating to the voters’ registers and did not mention citizens’ identity registers as they referred only to voters  had both added to them a phrase to the effect that they will both also hold “the particulars of the citizens”. The previous wording followed the definitions of the 2007 Voter Registration Law, and in any case Article 4(1) and 4(2)  of the Law deal with the  citizenship register and the voter register separately.

Comment: If there was a need for a further clarification of the two Registers, it might have been better to simply refer to each register separately.

The definition of the “Regional or District Register” which again previously only related to the voter registers at these levels had added to it the registers “of the identity card or voters’ card” at the region or district.

  1. Article 7 – The title “Custody of Registration” has been amended to include the additional phrase “and the production of the final lists”.
  2. Article 25(2) – Correction of the word “Ministry” to read “Identity”.

Comment: This and item 7 below were both necessary textual corrections.

  1. Article 26(2) – The previous reference to the period of “two months” before the election polling date for the publication of the voter register list (which was in both the final Gazetted version of the Law and in the previously HoR published January version of the final law, as well as the Bill originally published in the HoR website bills section) now reads in this new 31 March HoR published final Law version “six months”. 

Comment: Even the 2007 Voter Registration Law referred to the start of the implementation of the voter registration period as being no later than six months prior to the polling date (Article 12(1)) and that the registration officers shall reach the registration stations five months before the polling date (Article 27(1)), with the registration being undertaken during a period of not less than one month and not more than three months (Article 12(2)). So a change from two months to six months for the final stage of the production of the voter register would mean the whole process has to be started months and months in advance of this deadline and, in our view, mandates an unnecessary long period to lapse between the production of the registers and the polling date.  This requires, in our view an amendment as soon as possible, together with any other amendments/additions the National Electoral Commission proposes so as to enable the holding of the election as soon after the voters’ lists are finalised and any corrections are made promptly thereafter. 

  1. Article 28 – This Article as previously published and gazetted read: “The National Electoral Commission shall, after consulting the national parties, announce the time the voter registration is commencing, and it shall so inform the President”. This was actually change to the corresponding Article 12(6) of the 2007 Voter Registration Law and the latest HoR version of this Amending Law returns to a wording essentially the same as  that in the 2007 Law by stating that  “the President shall announce the date of the commencement of the voter registration by issuing it in a Presidential Decree within fifteen days of receiving the proposal of the National Electoral Commission”.

Comment: Indeed the President issued such a Decree recently on 12 April 2015, announcing that acting on the recommendation he has received from the National Electoral Commission on 9 April 2015, the voter registration shall begin in all the regions of the country from 21 July 2015. This was the practice, as well under the 2007 Voter Registration Law.

  1. Article 42 – This Article,  which is identical to Article 38 of the 2007 Voter Registration Law, currently reads in the final Gazetted Law as follows: “International and local observers or inspectors who are checking the proper conduct of the voter registration activities shall be approved by the National Electoral Commission which shall consult the Ministry of Internal Affairs about security matters”.  The same Article 42 in the  HoE version of the Law now reads as follows: “The details of the) International and local observers or inspectors who are checking the proper conduct of the voter registration activities shall be forwarded to the Ministry of Internal Affairs by the National Electoral Commission so that it (the Ministry) can reach decisions about their entry permits to the country.”

Comment: The function of verification of the credentials and suitability of the observers or inspectors belongs to the National Electoral Commission and the function of issuing entry clearances lies with the Immigration Branch and Somaliland Legations abroad. The purpose of this change is therefore not clear at all.

  1. Article 44(3) There was a missing phrase “which cannot be converted into a fine” in connection with the prison term punishment set out in this paragraph which has now been correctly inserted.

 

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