Gaas Warns of Crisis in Somalia's Puntland, Urges Timely Vote
Mogadishu, Somalia – Dr. Abdiwali Mohamed Ali Gaas, the former President of Puntland, has strongly advised against any delay in the upcoming presidential elections, warning that such a move could plunge the state into a constitutional crisis. President Gaas, who adhered to the constitution of Puntland and held the election on January 8, 2019, directed his comments at current President Saeed Deni, whose term is nearing its constitutional end in just over two months.
"The solution is for Puntland to hold the elections on time and to follow the old method after the leadership that comes in has properly implemented the democratic process," Gaas said. His comments come amid growing concerns from scholars and politicians in Puntland, who are increasingly worried about the region teetering on the edge of a constitutional dispute and the prospect of unconstitutional elections.
Dr. Gaas elaborated that during his tenure, despite the Somaliland army capturing Tukaraq—a location 80 km away from Puntland's capital—he did not use the situation as a pretext to delay the elections. "I didn't say that Puntland is in a war and the election should be postponed, but I took it in its time, refusing to change anything on January 8," the former president emphasized.
According to Gaas, an election not held on time sets a dangerous precedent, allowing any future president to attempt to extend his term unlawfully. This sentiment seems to resonate with the people living in the divided parts of Puntland, who have been calling for the past 48 hours for President Deni to maintain stability and proceed with the presidential election as previously conducted, given that there is no remaining term for him to reconfigure the election process to his preference.