The Senate of Somalia

Aqalka Sare
10th Parliament
Type
Type
The Upper House of the Federal Parliament of Somalia
Leadership
Speaker
Sen. Abdi Hashi Abdullahi
since January 22, 2017
1st Deputy Speaker
Sen. Abshir Mohamed Ahmed
since January 22, 2017
2nd Deputy Speaker
Sen. Mowlid Hussein Guhad
since January 22, 2017
Chief Whip.
Sen. Abdikafi Moalim Hassan
since January 22, 2017
Deputy Chief Whip
Sen. Fartun Abdulkadir Farah
since January 22, 2017
Structure
Seats54
Length of term
4 Years
States
Somaliland, Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Southwest, Jubbaland
Meeting place
Website
senate.gov.so
Constitution
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia

The Senate of Somalia is the Upper Chamber of the bi-cameral legislature of Somalia. The Senate of Somalia is the upper chamber of the Federal Parliament of Somalia, which, along with the lower chamber constitutes the legislature of Somalia. The Senate chamber is located in Mogadishu, the capital City of Somalia.

The term “Senator” usually refers to a member of the Aqalka Sare, the Upper House of Somalia Federal parliament and the term “Xildhibaan” is used for the member of the House of People(the lower house), this does not imply the former is more powerful than the latter. The approval of both houses is necessary for legislation to become law and, thus, the Senate can reject bills passed by the House of the People.

History

The Senate came into existence in 2016 when Somalia shifted to a bicameral legislature and formed its 10th Parliament. This was after Art.61 (3) and Art.71 were mandated that brought the Upper House into existence, thus discharging the responsibilities of the 9th parliament.

The Senate consists of 54 senators from the different Federal Member States of the country. The Senate is composed of senators, each of whom represents a single state in its entirety.[1]

The electorate expanded from 135 male elders in 2012, to more than 14,000 including 30 percent of women. The Senate of Somalia represents the Federal Member States and is responsible for the facilitating Federalism Principles, Initiating and amending laws, scrutinising the bills and carrying out oversight functions.[2]

Composition

The Senate of Somalia has 54 Senators from different Somali Federal Member States, namely Somaliland, Puntland, Jubbaland, Galmudug, Southwest and Hirshabelle State of Somalia.[3]

Somaliland 11 20%
Puntland 11 20%
Jubaland 8 15%
Galmudug 8 15%
South West 8 15%
Hirshabeelle 8 15%
Total 54 100%

Qualification

The constitution sets three qualifications for senators:

Representation

There are de facto Federal Member States: Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Jubaland, South-West, Puntland, plus the Northern Regions (Somaliland). Each Federal Member State is entitled to a specific number of Senate seats. Like most other Upper houses worldwide, the Somali formula does not use representation by population as a primary criterion for member selection. The Senators are elected by regional assemblies except for Northern Regions whose delegates elect their Senators in Mogadishu. Senators serve terms of four years each; As per the Constitution. The Upper House of Federal Parliament cannot be dissolved.

Elections and Term

The Provisional Constitution of Somalia refers that the term Federal Parliament both houses is four(4) years beginning from the elections. In addition, the members of the Upper House of Somalia Federal Parliament cannot be dissolved.

Committees

The Senate also has several committees that carry out the house business and also involve in legislative processes. Other committees may be established on an ad hoc basis for specific purposes and they can monitor executive branches of the government to review their performances and make sure that law is upheld.

Standing Committees of The Upper House of Somalia Federal Parliament

No. Committee Name
1 Rules of Procedure, Ethics and immunity of the Senators Committee
2 Oversight Committee On the Review and Implementation of the Provisional Constitution
3 Judiciary Affairs and Human Rights Committee
4 Interior, Federalism, Reconciliation and Federal State Relations Committee
5 Security and Defense Committee
6 Foreign Affairs, Planning and Investment Committee
7 Social Service Development, Humanitarian Affairs, Information and Culture Committee
8 National Resources, Infrastructure & Transportation Committee
9 Economy, Finance, Trade, Industry, Communications and Tourism Committee

Legislative functions

Although legislation may be introduced in either chamber, most bills originate in the House of People. The Senate is not permitted to originate bills imposing taxes or appropriating public funds. The Senate tends to be less partisan and confrontational than the House of the people and is more likely to come to a consensus on issues. It is more active at reviewing, amending, and even rejecting Federalism Principles, Initiate and amend laws, scrutinise the bills and carry out oversight functions.

The Upper House of the Federal Parliament legislative duties includes Participation in the process of the amending the Constitution; Passing, or rejecting the laws that are tabled; Study of laws; Participation in the election of the President of the Federal Republic; Dismissal of the President; Participation in the process of declaring war; Carrying out other duties required by the Constitution to ensure proper implementation and review of the Constitution and Participation in the process of declaring a state of emergency. It also approves the appointment of Members of the Judicial Service Commission; Chairman and Judges of the Constitutional Court; Members of the National Independent Electoral Commission; Members of the Boundaries and Federation Commission and Members of the Arbitration Committee.

Procedure

Daily sessions and debates

The Senate uses Standing Rules for operation. Like the House of Representatives, the Senate meets in Mogadishu. At one end of the chamber of the Senate is a dais from which the presiding officer presides. The lower tier of the dais is used by clerks and other officials. Every senator has a right to speak in the house debates, but he/she must register first and be given the floor by the chair. Senators during debate can speak only about the issues that are in question and are not allowed to speak about the same issue after that. According to Art. 31, Para. 4 of the Rules of Procedure states, the maximum duration of speaking for any Senator is ten minutes and only exception for longer duration is when the chair allows them to speak on it. Both the Prime Minister and President are exempt from any time limit. During a debate, senators may only speak if called upon by the presiding officer, but the presiding officer is required to recognize the first senator who rises to speak. All speakers, except for the house leadership or high-level guests, must stand in front of the Senators and address them directly. As given in Art. 32 of the Rules of Procedure, no speaker should be interrupted in between with only a few exceptions when Rules of Procedure are broken; speaker talks about items not included in the agenda; speaker gives inaccurate information; and there is a motion for the continuation of the debate or voting.

Debate

Apart from rules governing civility, there are few restrictions on the content of speeches; there is no requirement that speeches pertain to the matter before the Senate. While debating on the bills should commence with a background and discussion of the bill and only the sponsor institution can ask general questions from the Senators on it. An article-by-article debate shall be convened after the relevant house committee submits its deliberations on the bill in the second reading session.

Voting

When the debate concludes, the motion in question is put to a vote. The presiding officer puts the question, and Members respond either yes or no. The vote is closed at the discretion of the presiding officer. The Upper House’ members may vote only on items included in the agenda by raising their hands, and a decision is based on the majority's vote (50%+1) of those present at the session. The general secretariat counts up the votes, and the chair of the session declares the result.

Members

Main article: List of members of the Federal Parliament of Somalia

The number of members in the Senate currently stands at 54, led by the House Speaker.

Speaker of the Senate Period Notes
Abdi Hashi Abdullahi 22 January 2017 - [4]


Member of the senate Period 2016-2021 Notes
Abdirizak Jurile 12 December 2016 [5]

References

  1. ^ Mohamed, Hamza. "What is delaying Somalia's elections?". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Past is Precedent: Political Gridlock Tests State Institutions in Somalia". Geopolitical Monitor. 2021-02-22. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Puntland, Jubbaland finally join Somalia electoral process". The East African. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Somalia". Parline: the IPU’s Open Data Platform. 5 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Somalia". Parline: the IPU’s Open Data Platform. 5 July 2018.