News ID: 302160
Published: 0158 GMT April 14, 2021

Somali president signs law extending mandate for two years

Somali president signs law extending mandate for two years
YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has signed a controversial law extending his mandate for another two years, despite threats of sanctions from the US and the European Union.

State broadcaster Radio Mogadishu said the president, better known by his nickname Farmajo, had "signed into law the special resolution guiding the elections of the country after it was unanimously passed by parliament", according to AFP.

Somalia's lower house of parliament on Monday voted to extend the president's mandate – which expired in February – after months of deadlock over the holding of elections in the fragile nation.

However the speaker of the Senate slammed the move as unconstitutional and the resolution was not put before the upper house, which would normally be required, before being signed into law.

Speaker Abdi Hashi Abdullahi said it would "lead the country into political instability, risks of insecurity and other unpredictable situations".

Farmajo and the leaders of Somalia's five semi-autonomous federal states had reached an agreement in September that paved the way for indirect parliamentary and presidential elections in late 2020 and early 2021.

But it fell apart as squabbles erupted over how to conduct the vote, and multiple rounds of talks have failed to break the impasse.

The new law paves the way for a one-person, one-vote election in 2023 – the first such direct poll since 1969 – which Somalis have been promised for years and no government has managed to deliver.

The United States said Tuesday it was "deeply disappointed" in the move to extend Farmajo's mandate.

The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also threatened "concrete measures" if there was not an immediate return to talks on the holding of elections.

A coalition of opposition presidential candidates said in a joint statement that the decision was "a threat to the stability, peace and unity" of the country.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since the collapse of Siad Barre's military regime in 1991, which led to decades of civil war and lawlessness fuelled by clan conflicts.

 

 

 

 

   
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