A leading member of the Somalia Technical Selection Committee (TSC) said the new parliament will meet for the first time Monday after the recent approval of the country’s constitution.
Halimo Ismael Ibrahim, co-chairwoman of the TSC, said legislators will begin the process of selecting its speaker, deputies and will soon elect the country’s next president.
Prime Minister Abdiwali Mohamed Ali and Sharif Hassan Sheekh Aden, the speaker of parliament of the Transitional Federal Government, are among the names of the approved members of the new parliament.
President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and the U.N. envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, said only the country’s traditional elders have the responsibility of nominating members of parliament.
The TSC was tasked with conducting background checks on prospective parliamentary candidates before they are approved to become members of the 275-member legislative body. The TSC announced late Friday a list of 202 out of the 275 lawmakers for the new parliament.
TSC co-chairwoman Ibrahim outlined some of the criteria her group used before approving the list of new parliamentarians.
“The criteria that we used on our protocol… is age, from 21 to 75, the education level, and their experience, and crime records, and [if] there is mental health problem, and the last one is protecting the values of Islam,” said Ibrahim.
Last week, the TSC excluded more than 60 nominated members of parliament because of their alleged involvement in Somalia’s conflict. But, in a disagreement, Ahmed said the TSC has no mandate to target specific individuals due to their alleged role in the Somalia’s fighting without a court conviction.
Ibrahim declined to comment on Ahmed’s opposition to the TSC’s decision to disqualify some of the nominated members of parliament.
“I can’t talk about this issue and I don’t want to discuss that case. The only thing I will say is that we have been following the criteria that was given to us,” said Ibrahim.
The approved constitution gives women 30 percent of the new parliament’s seats, but only 25 are on the new list.
Ibrahim said the TSC expects a parliament that will be representative of all Somalis.
“We want to have a better parliament. I am not going to say a perfect parliament, but I will say [a] better parliament because, looking at the members, we have seen some educated, we have seen more women, and we have seen more people who have got experience. So, we will have a better one,” said Ibrahim.
She said the oldest member of parliament is likely to be selected as speaker when the legislative body meets Monday.