Differing Interpretations Arise as the Somali President’s Terms Ends

Mogadishu (PP News Desk) — The term of office for the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) ended on Feb. 7th. Differing interpretations have arisen among the country’s political stakeholders, including Federal Member States (FMS), an umbrella group of political opposition, a number of presidential candidates and the international community.

Puntland state minister of information, Abdullahi Timacadde, held a press conference in the Galmudug regional capital Dhusamareb declaring that Puntland administration would “not recognise” Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) as President of Somalia after Feb. 7th. The Puntland statement did not issue any discernable constitutional or legal basis for issuing the statement, however.

Presidential Candidates

Similarly, the Council of Presidential Candidates, an umbrella group that includes two former Presidents, one former Prime Minister, and a number of former federal ministers, who are all aspiring to lead the country’s next Federal Government issued a strongly-worded press statement  and declared that, after Feb. 7th, they would “no longer recognise Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) as President of Somalia”.

Dr Abdinasir Abdille Mohamed, a Presidential Candidate, recognises the incumbent Somali President as the leader of a “caretaker government”.

The Council called for the formation of a “Transitional National Council” – which had no clear constitutional or legal authority.

The Council includes ex-President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, ex-President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, ex-Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, and a number of ex Ministers, Abdikarim Guled, Abdirahman Abdishakur, and Mohamed Abdi Gandhi.

In contrast, Somali presidential candidate Dr Abdinasir Abdille Mohamed, who was a candidate in 2017 election and is a member of Council of Presidential Candidates, issued an independent statement recognising President Farmajo in a “caretaker role with limited powers”. He also called for avoiding “illegal term extension”, warned against “any political  action that may cause political instability ”, and urged “all political stakeholders to exercise restraint”. Dr. Abdinasir also called for “national consultation conference among stakeholders…to agree on an electoral timetable for 2021 federal elections”.

International Community

The international community  issued a statement on Feb. 8th, expressing support for “further dialogue in a calm and constructive spirit”, while warning against “a parallel process or partial elections, or any other actions that lack broad agreement”.

Countries and international organizations that signed the press statement included: African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia, European Union (EU), Finland, France, Germany, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, League of Arab States (LAS), Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russian Federation, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, and the United Nations.

In the coming days and weeks, Somalia will focus on agreeing on an election timetable and holding federal parliamentary elections across the country’s five regional states and in Mogadishu, where the federal government is based.

© Puntland Post, 2021