Somaliland joins Puntland in protests over constitutional changes


HARGEISA, Somalia - The breakaway region of Somaliland has dissociated itself from the recent constitutional changes approved by the federal parliament of Somalia, insisting that it has never been part of the constitution that the Horn of Africa nation has been using.

Puntland rejected the constitutional changes and announced withdrawal from the federal system, arguing that the changes were pushed hurriedly without proper public participation. The northern state withdrew from the arrangements in which federalism is anchored.

Ali Hassan Mohamed, Somaliland’s minister for information, said the state will not be bothered by changes in Mogadishu, adding that the breakaway region has never used Somalia’s constitution. Legally and conventionally, Somaliland is a region in Somalia.

During an interview with Sahan TV, Ali Hassan Mohamed said that the people of Somaliland have never been part of Somalia's Constitution. He added that the region is not interested in Mogadishu politics, which could degenerate into deep political divisions.

"Somalia is a state of our neighbours. The Constitution does not concern us. Even in 1960, when a constitution was voted on, we rejected it as it was just for them," said Minister Ali Marehaan.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but no country has recognized its sovereignty in the decades since. The region signed an agreement with Ethiopia which if implemented, would see Addis Ababa recognise it as a sovereign country.

The new changes reduced the powers of the Prime Minister significantly besides dictating that the new president will be elected by the people. Currently, Somalia is using the traditional model where elders pick legislators who in return elect the president..

Further, the life span of federal autonomy was placed at 5 years, after which all state leaders will seek reelection. The government of Somalia insisted that the amendments were long overdue while acknowledging parliament for approval of the Bill.


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