April 16, 2024

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Crisis Deepens in Somalia as Puntland Rejects Constitutional Reforms

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Somalia seems to be heading towards a constitutional and security crisis amid announcement of changes to interim constitution. Puntland, a federal member state, issued a strong statement a few hours ago.

The President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh, in his recent talks, vowed to press ahead with constitutional reforms. The controversial reforms have become a source of conflict between Hassan Sheikh government and opposition politicians. Some regional states including Puntland have come to the forefront in opposing the proposed changes to constitution.

The proposed constitutional reforms include creations of two party system, universal suffrage, greater federal control on decision making etc.

Abdullahi Farmajo, the former President of Somalia, returned to Somalia from the Middle East a few weeks ago. He is leading efforts to form a joint opposition front against the President Hassan Sheikh’s bid to reform the constitution. This week Farmajo and Shareef Sheikh, another former President, visited Puntland.

Puntland regional state. led by newly elected President Seid Abdullahi Deni, has been opposing proposed constitutional reforms. Yesterday Farmajo and Shareef Sheikh, having met with Deni, departed Puntland. After that, Puntland government issued a statement, rejecting the proposed constitutional reforms.

Puntland government claims that the proposed amendments will undermine the principles of federalization, reconciliation, and power-sharing.

At a crucial time when Al Shabaab armed group has intensified attacks on Somalia’s forces and Ethiopia-Somalia relations are tense, tensions between Mogadishu and regional states could weaken Hassan Sheikh’s government.

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Crisis deepens in Somalia as Puntland rejects constitutional reforms