Somalia: Puntland rejects constitutional amendments

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GAROWE, Somalia - Puntland, the northeastern state of Somalia, has rejected constitutional amendments being propped by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, which if effected, would lead to a change of structure and systems of governance in the country.

The northern region was the first federal state of Somalia and played a central role in shaping federalism, which has been used for the last two decades in the fragmented nation. Somalia is healing from a civil war and at the moment, it is struggling to contain al-Shabaab resurgence.

On Monday night, the regional state released a statement where it claimed that Somalia’s parliament doesn’t have the authority and legality to “create a new constitution.” Puntland said only limited articles need completion.

The northern state also warned that if “attempts to create a new constitution” are implemented it will not uphold, recognise or apply any changes to the constitution that were made without an agreement. Puntland was not involved in the preparations of the proposals.

Already, Parliament has passed four chapters of the changes in the constitution and the remaining ones, mostly affecting the structure of governance, will be discussed in due course. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud wants to introduce the presidential system along with universal suffrage elections.

For a long time, Somalia has been using a parliamentary system of government with a clan-based model preferred during elections. However, should the proposals pass, this would change but the process has been opposed by key stakeholders, including Puntland.

Earlier on Monday, a few residents of Mogadishu resident demonstrated in support of the constitutional review and amends that is being conducted by the federal parliament. It comes amid opposition from dozens of MPs who alleged that the process reflects “personal interests.”

The President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in recent remarks vowed that the current government is to forge ahead with the constitutional reviews. Former leaders Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed alias Farmajo have strongly opposed the changes.

GAROWE ONLINE

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