MOGADISHU, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Somali elections will mark a new turn of governance in Somalia thanks to a bicameral Parliament which failed to come into being in 2012, experts say.
The concept for an Upper House was first mooted in the 2004 by regional bloc IGAD which Somalia is a member in the National Reconciliation Conference in Kenya but the semi-autonomous region of Puntland rejected the ideas as it was the only established autonomous region in the country besides the breakaway Somaliland.
The country is yet to formally adopt the constitution which will have to go through a referendum but several articles of the Supreme Law are already in force.
The idea of an Upper House is informed by the understanding of the centralized and powerful system under the previous constitution was among the motivating factors leading to the collapse of the states in 1991.
The Senate or the Upper House together with the Lower House forms the Federal Parliament of Somalia.
The Federal Parliament will elect a new president before the expected one person one vote in 2020 takes that mandate to the people. The formation of the Upper House in Somalia is however not without a raft of concerns.
Under the constitution, the Upper House principally serves to protect the interests of the Federal units. But observers see a point of conflict between the Upper House and the Lower House.
Mohamed Noor Ga'al, a former state minister of foreign Affairs and a legal expert, told Xinhua in a recent interview in Mogadishu that the conflict could arise over the Upper House role in trying to fight for the interest of the states.
"The two houses will conflict over roles particularly as the Upper House strives to defend and fight for allocation of resources and protection of the state," Ga'al said.
The former minister told Xinhua that aspects such as resource sharing and allocation particularly as the exploration of natural resources such as oil takes root in Somalia could be new points of conflict between the two houses of Parliament.
The fate of Banaadir region which hosts the capital Mogadishu is another area of contest which the Upper House has to deal with. Despite hosting the highest number of people, about 2 million, Banaadir region is not represented in the Senate.
The determination of the status of Mogadishu is a matter set for the incoming Parliament through the constitutional review process.
Ga'al also warns the Upper House could also be at loggerheads with the Federal Government which sees the regional administrations as an eroding its power.
"The regional administration were formed to reduce power in the center and that may not go down well with the Federal Government," said Ga'al.
Abdirahman Ali, a legal and policy analyst noted that the lack of clarity on the functions of the Upper House could raise concerns and must be dealt with accordingly in the constitution review process.
"I don't see clear cut functions of the Upper House in the constitution. Unless these are clearly defined, this could create differences among members of the political class," states Ali.
The Provisional Constitution highlights the function of the Upper House as participating jointly with the Lower House in the impeachment of the President, repealing or originating laws and vetting constitutional office holders for appointment among other functions but is not distinct on its role in relation to the Federal units.
Gedi Abdirahman, a student in Mogadishu, is cautiously optimistic noting the impact of the Upper House is matter of wait and see.
"The Upper House is a new institution in Somalia and we hope everything with it will be okay."