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The Upper House of Somaliland prolonged president period

On Saturday March 28, 2009, the Upper House of the Republic of Somaliland debated whether to reauthorize President Dahir Rayale Kahin and Vice-President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin to stay in power beyond the March 29 The president had submitted to the Upper House (the Guurti) a request to this effect that was read in parliament two days ago, and the Upper House members were asked to study the motion and come back on Saturday to consider it.

The reason the president is asking for an extension of his term in office is that the presidential election which was supposed to take place on March 29, 2009 could not be held at that date and was postponed until May 31, 2009 whereas the president's current term expires on April 6th, 2009 which means that a decision has to be made on who is going to be president of Somaliland from April 7 - May 31, 2009 deadline until elections are held.

After a lengthy and emotional debate, the House approved by 42 to 35 with one abstention for the president and vice-president to stay in power for another six months until elections are held.

The vote of the Upper House was a testimony of the maturity of the Somaliland democracy. It proved the leaders of Somaliland have a national consciousness that takes precedence over clan loyalties, a trait that distinguishes them from other African societies. This is also validated by the voting behavior of the citizens during the 2003 presidential election. It bodes well for democratic principles to take a deeper root and for democracy to be sustainable and permanent in the country.