Mandate of the House of Elders
In 2001, Somaliland adopted, through a popular referendum, a new Constitution which states in Article 38 that 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.” Article 58 of the Constitution also states that the members of the HoE shall be elected in a manner to be determined by law and the period of office of the Guurti is six (6) years beginning from the date of its first meeting.
Article 57 describes the Mandate of the HoE saying “It shall review any legislation passed by the House of Representatives before it being forwarded to the country’s President”. The powers and duties of the Guurti are further elaborated in Article 61. The HoE shall be specifically responsible for passing laws relating to religion and culture; reviewing bills passed by the HoR (except financial legislation); advising on the shortcomings of the Government and summoning of members of the Government and putting questions to them about the fulfilment of their duties. The Guurti is also entitled to refer bills to the HoR for its debate and resolution.
Article 83 of the Somaliland Constitution outlines another important role played by the HoE. If on the expiry of the term of office of the President and the Vice-President, it is not possible, because of security considerations, to hold elections, the Guurti has the power to extend their term of office. At the same time, the HoE shall set a new date for new Elections taking into consideration the period in which the problems can be overcome and the elections can be held.
Regarding the Secretariat of the HoE, Article 63 stipulates that the HoE shall have a Secretary General (SG), who is not a member of the House. The House may also have advisers, including a legal adviser. In addition, the same article states that “the structure of the Secretariat of the House shall be the same as that of the House of Representatives.”