Somali MPs voted Monday in favor of a two-year extension of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s term, to put an end to a months-long crisis over holding elections in the country.
But the Presidency of the Senate, where the bill must be passed, was quick to describe the decision as unconstitutional.
Somalia has been mired in chaos since the fall of the military regime of President Siad Barre in 1991.
It was scheduled that Somalia would witness presidential and legislative elections before the eighth of February, but differences between the federal government supported by the international community and the regional states prevented that.
On Monday, the police chief of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, prevented MPs from meeting, saying he did so to prevent any extension of the president’s term.
The capital’s police chief, Sadiq Omar Hassan, said live on Universal Somalia TV that he prevented the parliament session from taking place. A police statement said the police commissioner removed him after a few minutes.
On Monday, Speaker of the People’s Assembly, Muhammad Mursal Sheikh Abd al-Rahman announced that “149 members agreed to the special law regarding the country’s elections, while 3 members refused, and one member remained silent,” according to what was reported by the Somali National News Agency, SUNA.
The People’s Assembly Speaker called on the Independent National Elections Commission to implement its constitutional duties, and to hold the country’s elections within two years, according to SUNA.
For his part, the Somali president welcomed the private law, and indicated, according to the Somali agency, that “the government will play a role in implementing the law, which will lead the country to direct elections and restore to the Somali people the constitutional right to choose whomever they trust.”
He called on the Somali people to “work together to seize this historic opportunity and to participate in the political process in the country,” thanking “the friends of Somalia for their support in strengthening the democratic process in the country.”