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Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 12:25 UK

Punch-up in Somaliland parliament

Somaliland MPs brawling in parliament, Tuesday 8 September 2009
Police had to come in to stop the MPs brawling

Somaliland politicians began punching each other in parliament after officials announced a motion to impeach the president could be debated.

A BBC reporter in parliament says some MPs began muttering, then shouting and it quickly descended into a fist-fight as the politicians exchanged punches.

Eyewitnesses said one MP drew a gun, but no shots were fired.

Analysts say relations between the political parties have been acrimonious since the delay of presidential polls.

Opposition provoked

The BBC's Ahmed Said Egeh in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, says police had to enter the chamber on Tuesday morning to restore order.

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The election was supposed to be held on 27 September but it was postponed because of a new voters' registration list - the first one to be compiled since Somaliland was formed in 1991.

There were complaints about irregularities in its composition, so the vote was delayed by the electoral authorities.

However, Somaliland's two opposition parties are adamant that the election should go ahead using the list.

President Dahir Riyale Kahin's government has suggested the vote go ahead at a later date without a voters' registration list - which has provoked the opposition to start impeachment proceedings.

Somaliland, which is not recognised internationally, has formed its own hybrid system of governance consisting of a lower house of elected representatives, and an upper house which incorporated the elders of tribal clans.



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