- The new election law of Somaliland has yet to be completed while there are less than four months to the parliamentary elections, but women are organising themselves to be elected in large numbers to the Hargeisa parliament.
- Your meeting here today is an encouraging sign that women have political ambitions and are organising themselves to be part of decision making bodies, said Somaliland's First Lady, Huda Barkad, at a recent meeting organised by the Ministry of Family and Social Development at the Ambassador Hotel. "To achieve this, you have to form a plan and strategy," she advised.
The Somalilander First Lady urged the women who are organising themselves for the parliamentary elections on 29 March next year that they would preserve their culture and religion, respect the multi-party system and unite to get seats in the parliament.
She added: "Equality of gender exists in Somaliland. [Women's] role in decision making bodies should increase and they have to unite their forces to attain socio-economic development."
Edna Aden Ismail, Somaliland's Minister of Foreign Affairs who also spoke at the meeting, said; "Women have equal rights as men and they also have similar obligations to fulfil, either individually or as a group.
- I have no doubt that women will be elected in the forthcoming parliamentary election, Ms Ismail added. "No one can stop women from being elected as they have the right to vote," Somaliland's first female Foreign Minister told the group of women.
Meanwhile, in the capital of the Central Region, Burao, a delegation led by the executive director of NAGAD Women Umbrella, Sado Hashi, has been organising women and raising their awareness to take part in the first multi-party parliamentary election ever to ve held in Somaliland in March.
Speaking to the press after completing a visit to various districts in the Central Region, Ms Hashi said: "Women have to negotiate with the political parties in the number of seats that they are going to allocate for the women in their parties. We are trying to get good representation in the next parliament."
In another development, the Chairman of the National Election Commission (NEC), Ahmed Hagi Ali Adami, told the press - after meeting the House of Representatives' committee on completion of the election law - that elections must be held on 29 March 2005 and that the election law has to be completed when parliament returns from its adjournment.
He said: "The committee has an expert to advice them on the transition from community-based elections to democratic elections. The press should stop writing about the possibility of postponement or what will be done."
- But if conditions hinder elections from being held, then postponement can be decided by those empowered to do so, Mr Adami added. "There is no alternative for elections," he however emphasised.
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