THE STRUCTURE OF THE STATE
Article 37: The Sovereignty and Powers of the State,
- 1. Allah who created the Somaliland nation in this land has endowed it with sovereign status and powers. The people of the Republic of Somaliland have vested their sovereign powers, as set out in this Constitution, in a state founded on, and which shall act in accordance with, the Constitution.
- 2. The structure of the state shall consist of three branches which are: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. The separation of the powers of these branches shall be as set out in the Constitution. Each branch shall exercise independently the exclusive powers accorded to it under the Constitution.
Part One: The Legislative Branch
Article 38: The Parliament and Joint Sittings
- 1. The legislative powers of the Republic of Somaliland are vested exclusively in the Parliament which shall consist of two Houses - the House of Representatives and the House of the Elders. The power to legislate cannot be transferred to anyone outside the Parliament.
- 2. All bills passed by the Parliament shall come into force when the President publishes them in accordance with the Constitution.
- 3. The Parliament shall fulfil its duties in accordance with the Constitution and its Rules.
- 4. The most important objectives and duties of the Parliament are as follows:
- a) The protection of the peace and security of the Republic and Republic’s sovereign rule over its land, sea and air.
- b) The adoption by the Republic of Somaliland of all the laws necessary in a muslim state.
- c) The implementation of the laws of the Republic and the genuine achievement of justice which is the foundation of the Republic’s general stability and the confidence that the members of the Somaliland public have in each other and their reliance on each other.
- 5. The two Houses of the Parliament may hold joint and separate sittings.
- 6. The two Houses of the Parliament shall sit jointly when considering matters such as the following:
- a) the receipt of the Report of the President on the opening of the two Houses;
- b) the debates on the Republic of Somaliland joining international or cross regional organisations, or the ratification of international or regional treaties;
- c) the Resolution on and declaration of a state of war when the Republic of Somaliland is faced with war;
- d) the debates on natural disasters;
- e) the debates relating to emergency laws;
- f) the confirmation of the appointment of the Chairman of the Supreme Court; (and)
- g) any other matters considered by the two Houses as meriting joint sittings.
The House of Representatives
Article 39: General Provisions of the House
- The House of Representatives consists of members who represent the public, and forms the first part of the country’s legislative, passing laws and approving and overseeing the general political situation and the direction of the country.
Article 40: Membership and Election of the House
- The House of Representatives shall consist of 82 members who shall be directly elected by secret ballot in a free general election.
Article 41: Eligibility for Candidacy
Any person who is standing for election to the House of Representatives must fulfil the following conditions:
- 1. He must be a Muslim and must behave in accordance with the Islamic religion.
- 2. He must be a citizen who is not younger than 35 (thirty five) years.
- 3. He must be physically and mentally able to fulfil his duties.
- 4. He must be educated to, at least, secondary school level or equivalent.
- 5. He must not have been subject of a final sentence for a criminal offence by a court within the preceding five years.
- 6. He must be a responsible person with appropriate character and behaviour.
- 7. No employee of the state shall be eligible for candidacy unless he has tendered his resignation from office prior to a period determined by law. Such resignation shall be accepted.
Article 42: Period of Office and Election Term
- 1. The period of office of the House of Representatives is 5 (five) years beginning from the date when the Supreme Court declares the electoral results.
- The President shall announce the election of the new House a month before the expiry of the period of office of the outgoing House.
- If the election of the House of Representatives cannot be conducted because of dire circumstances, the outgoing House shall continue in office until the end of these circumstances and a new House is elected. Dire circumstances are: a wide war, internal instability, serious natural disasters, such as earthquakes, epidemic diseases, (and) serious famines; and shall be determined and resolved by the House of Elders on the proposal of the Council of Government.
Article 43: The Seat of the House of Representatives
- The seat of the House of Representatives is the Capital City..
Article 44: The Convening of the New House
- 1. The new House shall hold its inaugural meeting within 30 (thirty) days from the date when the electoral results are declared, and shall be convened by the President of the Republic.
- 2. If the President fails to convene the inaugural meeting, the House shall meet on its own initiative on the 45th (forty fifth) day beginning from the date when the electoral declaration is made.
- 3. The new House shall be opened by the Chairman of the Supreme Court who shall administer the oath of office to the members. The meeting of the House shall then be chaired by the oldest member (in age), and the House shall then elect, from amongst its members, a Speaker and two Deputy Speakers.
Article 45: The Meetings of the House of Representatives
- 1. The meetings of the House shall be open, but can also be closed; and their procedures shall be set out in Rules.
- The quorum of the meetings of the House is the presence of over half of its total membership, excluding the seats that have been declared vacant.
- Except for constitutional issues or matters which the Rules of the House state otherwise, resolutions of the House shall be passed by a simple majority of the members present at a meeting.
- The (motion for) postponement of a meeting shall be approved by a simple majority of those present, and the meeting may then be postponed for a maximum of period of seven (7) days.
- Ministers and Deputy Ministers have a duty to attend the meetings of the House of Representatives if requested, in writing, to do so; and they shall have the right to participate in the debate, but can not vote. In the same way, the President may ask the Vice-President or any Minister to attend, on his behalf, the meetings of the House.
Article 46: Sessions and the Procedures of the House of Representatives
- 1. The House shall hold every year 3 (three) ordinary sessions which shall last 28 (twenty eight) weeks in total. The sessions shall be separated by a period of no less than 4 (four) weeks and no more than 8 (eight) weeks.
- 2. An extra-ordinary session of the House of Representatives may be held:
- a) on request of the President;
- b) on convening by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; (or)
- c) on request, in writing, of 1/3 (one third) of the members of the House.
- 3. The House shall adopt its Rules at its first session, and shall establish such committees, as it deems necessary.
- 4. The President shall deliver the State of the Nation speech at the start of the first session of each year. The speech shall cover the political situation, the Government’s programme, the economy, and the financial and security situations.
Article 47: The Remuneration and Expenses of the House of Representatives
- The members of the House of Representatives shall be entitled to remuneration and expenses as determined by law.
Article 48: Prohibition of Holding other Office and of Private Gain
- A member of the House of Representatives shall not hold any other public office whilst serving as a Representative, and shall not use his office for private gain.
Article 49: The Privileges of the Members of the House of Representatives
- 1. No member of the House may be detained, and no action may be taken against him for any matter which he learnt or raised at the House or on which he expressed his opinion.
- 2. Clause 1 does not extend to insults or slander committed by a member.
- 3. No member of the House of Representatives shall be investigated, questioned, arrested, imprisoned or otherwise subjected to any other acts relating to punishment without the consent of the House of Representatives.
- 4. Action may be taken against the member if he is caught in flagrante delicto, in which case the House shall be informed promptly.
- 5. The House shall consider whether the action taken against the member is proper.
- 6. If the House is not in session, consent for the action taken against the member must be sought from the Standing Committee of the House of Representatives, and the House shall be informed at the following session.
- 7. Civil suits against a member of the House of Representatives may be instituted, and no consent is required.
Article 50: Loss of Membership of the House of Representatives
The membership of the House of Representatives shall be lost on:
- 1. the death of the member or incapacity which makes it impossible for him to fulfil his duties;
- 2. the voluntary resignation by the member, which has been accepted by the House;
- 3. one of the pre-requisite conditions of his election being broken; or on the member’s failure to fulfil his duties;
- 4. the passing of a final sentence for a crime which has been proven in a court;
- 5. the absence, without a valid excuse, from 20 (twenty) consecutive sittings.
Article 51: Filling Vacant Seats in the House of Representatives
- If a seat of the House of Representatives becomes vacant during any period prior to the final six months of the term of office of the House, it shall be filled as determined by law, and the new member shall serve for the remainder of the term of office.
Article 52: Staff of the House of Representatives
- 1. The House of Representatives shall have a Secretariat headed by a General Secretary who is not a member of the House. He shall assist the Speaker of the House in administrative matters, and in all financial and management issues; and shall have a deputy.
- 2. The House of Representatives shall have Advisers, such as a Legal Adviser, and advisers on the economy, politics etc., who shall all, be chosen for their expertise and knowledge.
- 3. The other employees of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the Secretary General after he receives the approval to do so from the Speaker. The appointment, dismissal, remuneration and rights of the Secretary General, his deputy, the Advisers and other employees of the House shall be determined by the Rules of the House.
Article 53: The Powers and Duties of the House of Representatives
- 1. All appointments of Ministers, Deputy Ministers or Heads of the organs of the state shall be subject to confirmation by the House of Representatives  in accordance with the Constitution.
- 2. The House of Representatives shall also have power to debate, comment on, refer back with reasons or approve the programme of the Government.
- 3. The House of Representatives shall ratify governmental (international) agreements (treaties) such as political, economic and security agreements or those agreements which impose new financial burdens which have not been covered in the Budget, or which will involve the promulgation or amendment of legislation.
- 4. The House of Representatives shall submit to the Council of Government (the Cabinet) advice and recommendations about the direction of the general political situation.
- 5. The Council of Government (the Cabinet) shall seek the approval of both Houses (the House of Representatives and the House of Elders) for the imposition of a state of emergency in either the whole of the country or parts of it.
- 6. The House of Representatives shall have the power to summon the Government or its organs or agencies in order to question them about the fulfilment of their responsibilities.
- 7. The Committees of the House of Representatives shall have the power to question Ministers, Heads of the state organs or agencies or other senior national officers, whose duties are relevant to them, about the performance of their duties
Article 54: The Legislative Powers of the House of Representatives
The legislative powers of the House shall extend to the following financial matters:
- 1. The imposition of taxes, duties and other schemes for raising revenue.
- 2. The establishment of a Somaliland Income Fund or other Funds which are earmarked for specific issues. The management, collection and disbursement of these Funds shall be determined by law.
- 3. The printing of currency, and the issue of bonds, other certificates and securities.
- 4. The regulation of the economic and the financial systems.
Article 55: The Budget
- 1. The House of Representatives may debate and amend the Budget, and approve it by a resolution of the House.
- 2. If the new Budget is not approved before the start of the new financial year, the old Budget shall continue to be in force until such time the new one is approved.
- 3. The House of Representatives shall approve any expenditure which was not included in the Budget.
- 4. The procedures for the preparation of the general Budget and the financial year shall be determined by law.
- 5. The budgets and the annual accounts of the state organs, agencies, companies and other partly owned entities of the state and their presentation to the House of Representatives shall be determined by law.
- 6. The annual accounts shall be presented to the House of Representatives within six months of the end of the financial year to which they relate, and the House shall debate them and reach a resolution thereof.
- 7. The Auditor General shall have responsibility for the presentation of the annual accounts.
Article 56: Dissolution of the House of Representatives
The House of Representatives may be dissolved:
- 1. When the House does not sit for two consecutive ordinary sessions without the existence of any circumstances beyond its control.
- 2. When dissolution is proposed by a 1/3 (one third) of the members of the House; and is approved by 2/3s (two thirds) of the total members of the House.
- 3. The Constitutional Court shall issue a ruling in respect of the matters referred to in Clauses 1 and 2 of this Article, and shall submit the ruling relating to Clause 1 to the President and that relating to Clause 2 to the House of Representatives.
- 4. The House of Representatives may also be dissolved by the President after the public has agreed, in a national referendum organised by the Constitutional Court, to the reasons for the dissolution (advanced by the President).
- 5. When the President considers the ruling of the Constitutional Court issued in respect of the matters referred to in Clauses 1 or 2 of this Article, or the result of the national referendum under Clause 4 of this Article, he shall promulgate a Presidential Decree dissolving the House of Representatives and at the same time setting out the date of the election of the new House, which shall take place within 60 (sixty) days.
- 6. If the national referendum does not approve of the dissolution of the House of Representatives or the new elections cannot be held, the term of office of the House shall continue.
- 7. The House of Representatives shall not be dissolved during the first year of its term of office, or during the last year of the President’s term of office.
Part Two: The House of Elders
Article 57: General Provisions of the House
- The House of Elders of the Republic of Somaliland is the second part of the legislative, and shall review the legislation passed by the House of Representatives before it is forwarded to the President; and shall have special responsibility for passing laws relating to religion, traditions (culture) and security.
Article 58: The Election of the Members of the House and their Period of Office
- 1. The members of the House of Elders shall be elected in a manner to be determined by law.
- 2. The period of office of the House of Elders is six (6) years beginning from the date of its first meeting.
Article 59: Eligibility for Candidacy
- Without prejudice to the requisite age and level of knowledge as set out below, any person who is standing for election to the House of Elders must fulfil the same conditions which are needed for eligibility for election to the House of Representatives:
Article 59: Eligibility for Candidacy
Without prejudice to the requisite age and level of knowledge as set out below, any person who is standing for election to the House of Elders must fulfil the same conditions which are needed for eligibility for election to the House of Representatives:
- 1. He must not be aged less than 45 (forty five years).
- 2. He must be a person who has a good knowledge of the religion or an elder who is versed in the traditions.
Article 60: The Membership of the House of Elders
- 1. The House of Elders shall have 82 (eighty two) members, and shall elect from amongst its members a Speaker, two deputy Speakers and such committees, as it deems necessary. The House shall have a Standing Committee of 25 (twenty five) members.
- 2. The following shall always become honorary members:
- a) Five members to be selected by the President on the basis of their special significance to the nation, whose term of office shall coincide with that of the House.
- b) Any person who has served as a Speaker of the House of Elders or the House of Representatives.
- c) Any person who has served as a President or Vice-President of the Republic of Somaliland.
- d) Honorary members do not have the right to vote in the House and can not serve in the Standing Committee.
Article 61: The Powers and Duties of the House of Elders
- 1. The passing of legislation relating to religion, traditions (culture) and security.
- 2. With the exception of financial legislation, the review of legislation approved by the House of Representatives. It may refer back, with written reasons of its views, any such legislation to the House of Representatives only once within 30 (thirty) days beginning from the date when the relevant legislation was forwarded to the office of the Speaker of the House of Elders.
- 3. Advice on the shortcomings of the administration of the Government and the presentation of such advice to the House of Representatives.
- 4. Assistance to the Government in matters relating to religion, security, defence, traditions (culture), economy and society, whilst consulting the traditional heads of thecommunities.
- 5. The summoning of the members of the Government and putting questions to them about the fulfilment of their duties.
- 6. The House of Elders shall also have the power to put to the House of Representatives proposals for projects so that the House of Representatives can debate and reach resolutions thereof.
Article 62: The Inaugural Meeting of the House of Elders
- The inaugural meeting of the House of Elders shall take place within 30 (thirty) days of the date when their selection is completed. The meeting shall be opened by the Chairman of the Supreme Court who shall administer the oath of office, and shall then be chaired by the oldest member of the House (in age) until the election of the official Speaker of the House and his two Deputies.
Article 63: The Secretary of the House and Advisers
- The House of Elders shall have a secretary, who is not a member of the House. The House may also have advisers, including a legal adviser. The structure of the Secretariat of the House shall be the same as that of the House of Representatives.
Article 64: The Rules of the House
- At its first session, the House of Elders shall pass the Rules of the House.
Article 65: The Remuneration and Expenses of the House of Elders
- The members of the House of Elders shall be entitled to remuneration and expenses as determined by law.
Article 66: The Privileges of the Members of the House of Elders
- The privileges of the members of the House of Elders shall be the same as those of the House of Representatives. Such privileges may be removed by the House of Elders.
Article 67: Resignation of Members of the House of Elders
- Any member of the House of Elders may forward his resignation to the House of Elders which shall accept it.
Article 68: Loss of the Membership of the House of Elders
A person may lose his membership of the House of Elders:
- 1. if one of the conditions under which he was selected is no longer valid, or he can not fulfil his duties in accordance with the Rules of the House of Elders;
- if a member received a final sentence for a crime which has been proved in a court;
- if the House accepts his resignation.
Article 69: The Dissolution of the House
- The House of Elders may be dissolved in the same manner as the House of Representatives.
Article 70: Prohibition of Holding other Office and of Private Gain
- A member of the House of Elders shall not hold any other public office whilst serving as a member of the House, and shall not use his office for private gain.
Article 71: Meetings and Sessions
- The meetings of the House of Elders shall be open, and may be closed as provided in the Constitution. The quorum for meetings, the majority by which resolutions can be passed and the convening of extra-ordinary sessions shall be the same as the procedures applicable to the House of Representatives.
Article 72: Vacant Seats in the House of Elders and Procedures for Filling them
- 1. A seat at the House of Elders may become vacant on the realisation of one of the conditions set out in Article 50.
- 2. If a seat of the House of Elders becomes vacant during any period prior to the final six months of the term of office of the House, it shall be filled as determined by law, and the new member shall serve for the remainder of the term of office of the House.
Article 73: The Seat of the House of Elders
- The seat of the House of Elders is the CapitalCity.
Article 74: Introduction of Draft Legislation
Bills (draft legislation) may be introduced at the House of Representatives by:
- 1. The Council of Government (the Cabinet).
- 2. The requisite number of members of the House of Representatives as laid down in Rules passed by the House.
- 3. Except for financial bills, at least 5000 (five thousand) citizens who are eligible to vote.
Article 75: The Promulgation, Publishing and Implementation of Legislation
- All laws shall be promulgated and published in the Official Journal by the President within three weeks (21 days) beginning from the date when the two Houses have forwarded them, and shall come into force within thirty (30) days beginning from the date of their publication, but a longer or shorter period for coming into force may be set out in each law.
- A bill shall become law on approval by the House of Representatives, and shall come into force after its signature by the President in accordance with Article 38.
Article 77: The Procedures for Legislation
- 1. Each House of Parliament shall forward any bills that it passes to the other House for review and advice.
- 2. Each House may refer a bill back to the other only once.
- 3. The Rules of the Parliament shall lay down the procedures for the progress of bills, and shall make clear the special status of bills relating to finance and those that the Government considers to be urgent, which shall (both) be given priority.
- 4. Any bill passed or approved by both Houses of Parliament on a 2/3s (two thirds) majority or more shall not be referred back (to the Parliament) by the President who shall thereby signit. If the President considers that the bill is in conflict with an Article or Articles of the Constitution, he shall inform the Speakers and the Attorney General, who shall refer it to the Constitutional Court.
- 5. The President shall sign any bill forwarded to him by Parliament within three weeks (21 days) beginning from the date when the bill was received at the Office of the President, providing that he has not referred it back to Parliament.
- 6. If the President fails to sign a bill forwarded to him by Parliament within the requisite period, and has not referred it back to Parliament, then the bill shall henceforth become law, and shall be promulgated by the House which forwarded it (to the President).
- 1. All bills, other than those relating to finance, passed by the House of Representatives by a majority shall be forwarded to the House of Elders which shall:
- a) Approve them or propose amendments.
- b) If the House of Elders does not approve the bill, or its proposed amendments are not accepted by the House of Representatives, the latter has the right to return the bill to the House of Elders during its next session. If the House of Elders (still) does not approve the bill, nor submit a response within a month, the bill shall pass and shall accordingly be forwarded to the President.
- 2. All bills passed by the House of Elders by a majority shall be forwarded to the House of Representatives, which shall:
- 3. If the President accepts a bill passed by both Houses and forwarded to him, he shall issue it in the Official Journal within (21) days. If, however, the President does not accept the bill or proposes amendments, he shall inform the Speaker of the House of Representatives his reasons for such action within (21) days.
- 4. If the House (of Representatives) is not satisfied with the reasons given by the President, and the bill is passed again on a 2/3s (two thirds) majority of the members of the House, the President shall accept the bill. If there is no such majority (in the House), the bill shall lapse.
- 5. Except for financial bills, if the House of Elders refuses to accept on a point of principle and by a 2/3s (two-thirds) majority of its membership any bill passed by the House of Representatives, and the House of Representatives is not satisfied with that rejection, but fails to pass the bill again by a majority of less than 2/3s (two-thirds) of its membership, then the bill shall lapse.
Article 79: Accusations against the Members of the Houses
- 1. The members of the Houses (Representative or Elders) may be indicted for a criminal offence if they are caught in flagrant delicto for an offence which carries a punishment no less than (3) three years imprisonment.
They can not, however, be brought before a court, nor imprisoned until they are stripped of their privileges for the responsibilities that they hold for the nation.
- 2. The criminal prosecution brought against the accused members of the Houses, shall be conducted by the Attorney General after the appropriate House to which the members belong has stripped them of their privileges on a majority vote of two thirds of the total membership of the House.
Such cases shall be heard by the High Court of Justice.
 This is an unequivocal statement and although difficult to sustain in all circumstances, means that all “legislation” of what ever nature must be approved by the Parliament, even if Parliament passes a law which allows the President or Ministers to issue regulations. There are various ways that parliaments exercise oversight of any “delegated” legislation, but neither the Constitution, nor the Rules of the House of Representatives laid sown any differing routes for approval of various types of legislation. This is in contrast to the position in the pre-dictatorship Constitution of 1961 which followed the Italian system and divided legislative acts into four basic types: a) Laws ( Leggi); b) Legislative Decrees ( Decreti-Legge); c) Decree- Laws (Decreti-Legge ); d) Decrees ( Decreti ); and e) Regulations ( Regolamenti). Section II (Articles 60 – 63) of the 1961 Somali Constitution set out the procedure for consideration of draft Laws (Leggi) by the National Assembly and the promulgation of such laws by the President. The Assembly had also express powers under the 1961 Constitution (Article 62) to delegate to the Government the power to issue, on specified subjects or matters and for limited period, provisions having the force of law and these laws were then issued as presidential decrees (on proposal of the Council of Ministers). These were then “Legislative Decrees”. However in cases of urgent necessity, the Government was given power under Article 63 to issues temporary provisions having the force of law. Such provisions were issued by decree of the President (on proposal of the Council of Ministers) and must be presented to the National Assembly within five days from their publication so they can be converted into law. The Assembly, if in session, had a time limit of 30 days to undertake this task, and if they decide not to convert it, the law shall cease to have effect. These laws were termed “Decree-Laws”. Finally, Article 85 of the Constitution gave power to the President to issue by Decree, on the proposals of the Council of Ministers, regulations. This power was set out under the section relating to the activities of the Government and the public organs and was primarily for administrative and governmental issues. Also, the power to issue regulations on “specific matters may be given by law to the other organs of the State and to public bodies”. Whilst the dictatorship Constitution of 1979 included provisions which were similar to those of the 1961 Constitution in relation to the types of law, in reality all laws were issued by the decree of Siyad Barre, either in his capacity as Head of the Supreme Revolutionary Council or President from 1969 to 1990. It is indeed questionable how far this clause in the Somaliland Constitution permits any delegated legislation to the President and Ministers, and whilst administrative decrees and circulars cannot be construed as being “legislation”, a number of recent Laws have given powers to Ministers to issue regulations (such as the Somaliland Citizenship Law, the Regions and Districts Law) but although no corresponding duty to submit the regulations to the Parliament for approval was expressly added, it could well be any such regulations which have not passed by Parliament may well be challenged as having been issued contrary to this clause. It is time that Parliament sets up quickly a fast track procedure the scrutiny and approval of such type of “legislation”.
 See Articles 75 and 76.
 See The Standing Rules of the House of Representatives of 14 September 1998, which replaced the Rules passed on 16 June 1997. The Rules have also been revised in March 1999. when an Annexe (titled Rules of Parliament) relating to joint meetings of the two Houses was added. It is stated in the annexe that the respective Rules of the two Houses will be amalgamated. NOTE: New Standing Rules were adopted by the House on 2 January 2006.
 According to Rule 2(e) of the Annexe ( Rules of Parliament), the proposal for such meetings and the agenda shall be put forward by either: a) the two Speakers and shall be approved by the two Houses, or b) on the motion of a majority of the total members of one House which shall be forwarded to the other House, which may approve or reject the motion by a majority of its total members. The joint meetings shall be chaired by the Speaker of the House of Elders, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall act as a joint chairman (Rule 5). Unless otherwise stated in the Constitution. Resolutions in joint meetings of the two House shall be carried on a simple majority (Rule 3).
 Rule 2 of the Annexe (Rules of Parliament) adds that the two Houses may hold joint meetings about: a) Political issues that face the nation; b) on request of the Government or when two Houses want to put questions to the Government or are seeking situation reports or evidence from the Government; c) when there is a need to settle some issues relating to any side (presumably the Houses or the Government), be it discussion of opinions or passing of laws etc; d) when there are proposals from the Government or one of the Houses to amend the Constitution, in which case, the two Houses may empanel joint committees.”
 The first such elections are scheduled for March 2005. Elections shall be carried out in line with the House of Representatives Elections Law. The current House consists of members who were selected by their communities on a power sharing formula agreed at the National Conference of the Somaliland Communities at Hargeisa in late 1996 and early 1997.
 This Clause and the conditions in this Article also apply to membership of the House of Elders (see Article 59) and to appointments as Ministers/Deputy Ministers (see Article 94(5). Also Clause 82(2) relating to the Presidential (Vice-Presidential) office also raises a similar condition. This condition is likely to be regarded as questionable under, for example, Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICPCR) and article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights which confirm that the rights and freedoms in both documents shall be enjoyed “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”. Article 8(1) of the Constitution which sets out equality of citizens covers all these aspects but leaves out religion.
 Article 7(3) of The House of Representatives Election Law sets this period as 4 months before the election date. Strangley enough the relevant period for resignation in respect of presidential and local elections is 180 days but an exception was made for the the first nation-wide local elections where the period was reduced to 40 days (Article 7(1)).
 As the five-year term of the current House of Representatives was due to expire in May 2002, the House of Elders resolved on 27 April 2002 to extend its term under this Clause by one year. Another extension of two years was made by the House of Elders in February 2003 and a further extension of over six months to October 2005 was made by the Elders so as to coincide with the planned House of Representatives’ elections in September 2005. These extensions have been criticised severely as many argued that there were no dire circumstances which justified the extensions as the only reason why the extensions were needed was the failure on the part of the Government and the Parliament to pass the appropriate electoral legislaton and to hold the lection on time.
 This is the first reference to the “Council of Government”, or as I prefer, the Cabinet. There is no definition of the Council of Government in the Constitution, but Article 94 sets out the “Council of Ministers” whose meetings shall be chaired by the President (or the Vice-President). It is submitted that the reference to the “Council of Government” relates to this body.
 See also Article 3 for the Capital City.
 This refers to the electoral declaration, which is made by the Supreme Court under Article 41(1) of the Constitution, and not any provisional declarations made by Electoral Commission.
See Article 129 for the Oath.
 According to Rule 8 of the House Standing Rules, the election shall be conducted by show of hand and on the basis of a simple majority. The Speaker or his deputies may be dismissed on a motion proposed by 27 members and supported by a qualified majority of 55 votes (out of the 82). On receipt of the motion supported by the 27 members, the Speaker must call a meeting during a period of not less than 24 hours and not more than three working days. If the motion is carries than the new Speaker or his deputies are elected in line with Article 44 of the Constitution. The offices of Speaker and his Deputies may also become become vacant on the death of the member concerned or on his resignation.
 According to House Rule 24(1), the Speaker may hold a closed meeting when it is resolved by him that the following matters are being discussed: a) Issues relating to national security; b) controversies between House members or between the two Houses; c) matters concerning conduct of the members which the Standing Committee reported to Speaker and the latter considers it appropriate for the House to resolve; d) matters on which 11 member propose in writing ought to be considered in a closed meeting. All other meetings of the House shall be open (Rule 24(2)).
 This is set in Part 4 and 5 (Rules 25 to 44) of the House Standing Rules.NOTE: New Standing Rules were adopted by the House on 2 January 2006.
The Standing Rules of the House of Representatives were originally passed on 16 June 1997, and have since been replaced (on 14 September 1998) by the current Rules which have been revised in March 1999. NOTE: New Standing Rules were adopted by the House on 2 January 2006.
In addition to the Standing Committee, the House has Committees that deal with Economics; Social Affairs; Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation; Constitution, Justice & Laws; and Internal Affairs & Defence. Their terms of reference are set out in the House Standing Rules. Ad hoc Committees may also be formed. Members of the Committees are appointed by the Speaker and his Deputies, and each committee selects its won Chairman (Rule 12).
 See the Parliamentary Remuneration and Expenses Law (Law No: 13 of 2000).
 This is also the case with members of the House of Elders (see Article 70) and means the members of both Houses of Parliament appointed as ministers or deputy ministers cannot retain their parliamentary membership.
The Somali Penal Code makes insult (Article 451) and defamation (Article 452) criminal offences.
 Any such meetings of the House which are considering the conduct of members shall be closed – Rule 24(1)(c) of the Standing Rules.
 The Standing Committee consists of 17 members, except when it meets the House of Elders Standing Committee when it will include the Chairmen of the other House Committees as well as the House Speaker and his Deputies – a total of 25 (see Rule 13 of the House Standing Rules).
 This is, presumably, subject to Clauses 1 and 2 of the same article.
 These are set out in Article 41 above.
 The Standing Rules of the House set out the procedures for attendance in Rule 21 and the House shall make a final decision about the non-attendance falling within this Clause on the proposal of the Speaker after he had consulted the Standing Committee of the House (Rule 22).
 This will be set out in the House of Representatives Elections Law, but the parallel provision relating to local councillors is likely to be followed and any vacancy will then be filled by the party to which the departing incumbent belonged, and the top candidate on the relevant party list will be chosen (see Article 37 of the Regions & Districts Law- Law No: 23 of 2002). Any vacancy that arises before the elections in March 2005 is filled in accordance with Article 130(3) of the Constitution by a person selected by the community which chose the departing incumbent at the 1997 Conference of the Somaliland Communities.
 Under Rule 10 of the House Standing Rules, the General Secretary and his Deputy, as well as Legal Adviser shall be appointed by the Speaker and his Deputies.
 This is a new addition as the previous Constitution mentioned a Legal Adviser only.
 The Secretary General is responsible for the appointment, promotion, transfer or dismissal of other parliamentary employees but he shall seek the advice of the Speaker. See also The Parliamentary Staff Law (Law No: 15 of 2000).
 Under Rule 44 of the Standing Rules, the House shall consider each such appointment separately after having confirmed the appointee’s eligibility for the post. The House will hear the report of the appointee who will answer the questions put to him, and the vote will then be carried while the appointee is not present in the chamber.
 I have also added the word “treaties” in parenthesis because the Somali text uses the phrase “heshiisyada dawliga” which means literally “governmental agreements”, but can also be translated as “international agreements”. This Clause is aimed at bilateral or multilateral treaties of whatever nature and mirrors Article 67 of the 1960 Somalia Constitution headed “International Treaties” and which stated that the Assembly “shall authorise by law the ratification of political, military and commercial international treaties or treaties which involve a modification of the law or financial commitments not included in the budget.” But see also Article 92(6) which sets out the President’s power to sign “heshiisyada caalimga ah” – literally international agreements – and which raises the question as to whether there is any discernible difference between the two phrases. Agreements between governments/states are clearly covered in both Articles, but what about agreements with international organisations which may or may not consist of member states? In any case, this Article also sets out detailed examples of the kind of agreements which must be ratified by the House.
 See Article 90(11) and 92 for the declaration of state of emergency.
 This office is one of the special organs of state set up under Article 113 of the Constitution.
 This must refer to a third of the total membership of the House, as this part of the Clause does not refer to the members present and voting at a sitting, and the following part of the Clause refers expressly to the approval of the Dissolution by two thirds of the total membership.
 This Court is the Supreme Court – see Article 101 of the Constitution. The House Justice, Laws & Constitution Committee and the House Legal Adviser are empowered under Rule 49 of the House Standing Rules to deal with any legal cases relating to dissolution that may arise in connection with this Article.
 Such a referendum is likely to be carried out under procedures similar to that adopted for the referendum on the Constitution mentioned in Article 125 of the Constitution.
 This Article starts with the statement that the “Golaha Guurtida” (which I have translated as the House of Elders) is the House of “Odayaaasha”, which literally also means “elders”. The word “Guurti” is a term applied to traditional leaders, who were invariably elders, but are not necessarily chosen simply because of their age. As you can see in Article 59, members of this House must not only be aged 45 years or over, but must also have a good knowledge of religion or be well-versed in tradition. The Somaliland Guurti goes back to the 1980s during the liberation war and has been an enduring institution undertaking peace making and traditional conflict resolution.
 The Indirect Elections of the House of Elders Bill proposes that members of the House of Elders will be selected from each community on the basis of the current allocation to each community. Note also that Article 62 refers to the “selection” of the members of the House.
 The 6-year of the current House expired in early 2003, but their term of office was increased by one year.
 These conditions are set out in Article 41.
 Under the Rules, the functions of the Standing Committee is to undertake the functions of the House, as far as possible, during the periods of recess, to conciliate any disagreements between the members, to review the Rules of the House and to report back to the House on any activities undertaken during the recess (Rule 6). The House also has five Committees dealing with security & defence, political affairs, economics, social affairs and legislation & judiciary and may appoint ad hoc committees (Rule 7, as amended). NOTE: New Standing Rules were adopted by the House on 2 January 2006.
For example, former Vice-President (1993 -1997) Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah, and former Vice-President Hassan Easa Jama (1991 – 1993).
 But note any such legislation must be passed on to the House of Representatives for review and approval - see Articles 77(1) and 78(2) of the Constitution.
 Each House reviews the Bills passed by the other – see Article 77(1) of the Constitution.
 See also Clauses 77(1), 77(2) and 78(1).
 The word “mashruuc” which means a project is used in this Clause, but the Government’s draft amendments to the Constitution on the identical Article referred to “Mashruuc- Sharci”(i.e Bill – draft legislation). As this word has survived the revision of the Constitution, it must be assumed that it relates to any project that the House wishes to propose, including draft legislation in their areas of specialty - religion, traditions (culture) and security (see Article 57 and Article 61(1)). Rule 29 of the House Rules state that draft legislation (or new motions, presumably, otherwise than in a debate) may be proposed by a minimum of 11 members of the House.
 Note that Article 58 states that “elections” to the House shall be laid down by law.
 See Article 129 for the oath.
 The Speaker and his Deputies are responsible for the appointment of the House Secretary, his deputy and the Legal Adviser – Rule 4(d) of the House Rules.
 See Article 52 of the Constitution.
 The Rules of the House were approved initially on 19 June 1997 and have since been amended on 30 December 2001. The Rules consist of 26 Rules and an Appendix setting out the composition and terms of reference of the House Committees.
 See the Parliamentary Remuneration and Expenses Law (Law No: 13 of 2000).
 See Article 49.
 I have re-arranged the beginning of this Article so that the first line is set out separately and applies to all the three Clauses, instead of being part of Clause 1 as it is in the original Constitution in Somali. One should also note that other than the conditions set out in this article, Article 72(1) states that the conditions of loss of membership of the House of Representative set out in Article 50 also apply to the House of Elders.
 See Articles 59 and 41 for the conditions.