Somalia’s Parliament Extends President’s Term

Somali parliament session Monday 04/12/21. (Photo Credit: SNTV)

Somalia’s lower house of parliament voted on Monday to extend the executive’s term for another two years to let the country prepare for direct elections.

The speaker of the parliament, Mohamed Mursal Sheikh, said 149 legislators voted for the term extension. The special election resolution passed by the parliament will be effective when the president signs.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has welcomed the special parliamentary resolution and urged the Somali citizens to prepare to choose their destiny through the ballot.

The Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West member states, and the Banadir administration in charge of Mogadishu welcomed the parliament’s special resolution.

The Jubaland administration opposed the extension and said it is a threat to the state-building process of the country.

The extension also gives the electoral commission time to prepare for the one-person-one-vote process, allowing the Somali population to elect men and women who will represent them in the next government.

The parliament move revokes the September 2020 electoral model agreement between the federal government in Mogadishu and the five regional states and the Banadir administration.

Somalia’s upper house speaker Abdi Hashi rejected the resolution. Hashi termed the parliament decision unconstitutional. However, the country’s provision constitution in Article 47 gives the people’s house (the lower chamber of parliament) the sole right to establish special laws to govern the federal elections.

The September 2020 electoral model faced obstacles and leaders could not agree on the implementation of the electoral process, which gives 101 clan delegates to elect their members of parliament, then 275 legislators and 59 senators to elect the president. After five months of talks last week, the meeting collapsed.

Last year the electoral commission said it could prepare the country for direct election and it can take them less than a year to prepare for the polls.

Critics of the direct vote say the country cannot achieve due to insecurity and the complicated Somali clan power-sharing system.