Somalia - Government

The Federal Government of Somalia, formed in 2012, is led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Clan elders nominated the members of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament in 2012. Parliament elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president later that year. Former Transitional Federal Government (TFG) president and presidential candidate Sheikh Sharif described the presidential vote as fair and conceded defeat. The regional governments of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in the northwest and Puntland in the northeast controlled their respective jurisdictions. The Interim Juba Administration (IJA) partially controlled its jurisdiction. The Interim South West Administration, inaugurated 03 December 2014, also partially controlled its jurisdiction.

The terrorist organization al-Shabaab retained control of many rural areas in the south and central regions. Al-Shabaab retained control of some towns and rural areas but by year’s end lost control of the port city of Barawe and several other towns and villages in the south and central regions to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali forces.

A Transitional National Government (TNG) was created in October 2000 in Arta, Djibouti which was attended by a broad representation of Somali clans. The TNG had a three-year mandate to create a permanent national Somali government. The TNG did not recognize Somaliland or Puntland as independent republics but was unable to reunite them with the unstable regions in the south; numerous warlords and factions were still fighting for control of Mogadishu and the other southern regions.

Kenya organized the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference, a 14th reconciliation effort, in 2002 under IGAD auspices. The conference concluded in August 2004 with the establishment of a Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

A transitional government, the components of which are known as the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs), was formed in accordance with the Transitional Federal Charter. The TFIs include a transitional parliament, known as the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), as well as a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) that includes a transitional president, prime minister, and a cabinet known as the “Council of Ministers.” For administrative purposes, Somalia is divided into 18 regions; the nature, authority, and structure of regional governments vary, where they exist.

The TFG was established with a 5-year mandate leading to the establishment of a permanent government following national elections in 2009. In January 2009, the TFP extended this mandate an additional 2 years to 2011 and expanded to include 200 members of Parliament (MPs) from the opposition Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia and 75 MPs from civil society and other groups, doubling the size of the TFP to 550 MPs.

On September 6, 2011, the TFG and representatives from Puntland, Galmudug, and the ASWJ signed the “Roadmap to End the Transition” toward political reform in anticipation of the end of the TFG’s extended mandate in 2012. This roadmap set forward goals like working toward a permanent constitution, holding elections, and reforming Somalia’s 550-member parliament. To provide high-level political guidance for the roadmap’s implementation, the roadmap signatories met again at the December 21-23, 2011 Garoowe Conference, where they agreed upon the “Garoowe Principles,” which include plans for constitutional and parliamentary reform, and elections for speaker and president by August 2012. These principles were later refined in a second constitutional conference in Garoowe from February 15-17, 2012.

Following the establishment of the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission (ICRIC) in June 2014, the Speaker of the Federal Parliament, Mohamed Osman Jawari, reorganized the Parliamentary Oversight Committee, tasked with leading the constitutional review process. The Committee was eventually reduced from 23 members to 10, as constitutionally mandated, whose names were published on 9 December. A Sub-committee on Civic Education and Public Consultation was also established on 9 December, which is mandated to support the Oversight Committee, the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

The constitutional review process saw new momentum following the inauguration of the new government in February 2015. The new Ministry of Constitutional Affairs, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee, and the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission held several meetings in February to finalize their respective roles and responsibilities. The three institutions signed a memorandum of understanding on 9 March.

On 19 March 2015 the Oversight Committee formally initiated the constitutional review process, by instructing the Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission to review chapters 1 and 4 of the Provisional Federal Constitution. The Oversight Committee also initiated work on its own report on contentious issues in the Provisional Federal Constitution that will need to be considered in more detail.

The United Nations integrated constitutional team provided support for the above-mentioned processes, including facilitating planning activities, and began to provide capacity-building support for the establishment of the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission. UNSOM, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and UNDP formed a working group to ensure that Somali women’s voices are heard during the review process.

On 11 February 2016, Parliament adopted the bill on the National Independent Electoral Commission, which it drafted with expert advice from the UNSOM integrated electoral support group. The law establishes an independent electoral management body comprising nine commissioners, of whom at least two should be women, and a secretariat. The bill stipulates that the Commission will have its own budget to be drawn from the national budget and the powers to appoint its staff, set up local offices in the country as appropriate, and determine the electoral timeline.

The leaders of Somalia's federal member states said 08 Deptember 2018 that they had suspended all ties with the central government in what was likely another setback for the Horn of Africa nation as it emerged from two decades of conflict. At the end of a crucial four-day conference in the southern coastal city of Kismayo, the leaders of Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Jubaland, Puntland and South West states accused the Mogadishu government of failing to handle the country's security, of failing to fulfill its responsibilities toward the states in line with the country's federal structure, and of taking its eye off the fight against al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants.

"Because it had been responsible for the issues that had worsened its relations with the Federal Member States, we came to the conclusion that we suspend our collaborations with the Federal Government until it mends its mistakes," the leaders said in a joint communique. In a country where clan loyalties, not ideology, determine political support, analysts say Mogadishu is not willing to hand more power to the provinces, fearing a breakup of the state. Meanwhile, the regional authorities were demanding more autonomy and a better share of the foreign aid.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 11:45:54 ZULU