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Somalia: 'Federal govt will change constitution' says President Hassan

MOGADISHU, Somalia Jan. 7, 2012 (Garowe Online) - The president of Somalia 's federal government Hassan Sheikh Mohamud addressed the closing session of the Somali Federal Parliament in Mogadishu on Monday, Garowe Online reports.

Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari chaired the parliamentary session with 153 MPs present, out of parliament 's 275 MPs.

"This parliament session is closed and the next session commences in March 2013, " said Speaker Jawari. Las t week, MPs approved the 2013 budget presented by the government of Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon.

The People 's Assembly, or the Lower House of the Somali Federal Parliament, was established in August 2012 and based on 4.5 clan power-sharing formula between the four "major clans " and a collection of "smaller clans " in Somalia.

According to Somalia 's federal constitution, an Upper House of federal parliament must be established to represent the states of federated Somalia.

'Change the constitution ' : Pre sident Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

President Hassan, addressing the MPs, said that he is proud that Somalia has a new working parliament, and he encouraged the MPs to visit regions across Somalia.

"I encourage the MPs to visit their home regions and to engage local communities to support peace and development in the country, " said President Hassan, who was elected by parliament in September 2012.

"The government will continue to prioritize security issues. The government and the parliament must work together to change the provisional constitution, as Somalia needs time to implement federalism, " said President Hassan, adding: "No system can be imposed on Somalia by the international community or military forces or a small group of people in secret meetings. No system can be imposed without the people 's support ."

Somalia 's new constitution

The Provisional Federal Constitution, which is the foundation of the Federal Republic of Somalia and its institutions, was adopted on August 1, 2012, at a national conference in Mogadishu.

The new constitution is the product of years of technical work and political negotiations between Somali political actors, who held meetings throughout 2011 an d 2012 in Somali cities and in neighboring capitals, in a U.N.-facilitated political process.

Political insiders tell Garowe Online that the new constitution "defers" major decisions to the states that will constitute the Federal Republic, such as the status of the federal capital, power distribution between the center and the states, revenue sharing, and natural resources.

"President Hassan [Sheikh Mohamud] is pursuing a political agenda aiming to compel the [Lower House of] federal parliament to pass laws governing the status of the federal capital and distribution of power between the center and the states, among other sensitive topics, " said an informed political source in Mogadishu, adding: "This is an attempt to violate of the federal constitution and this is what is driving President Hassan 's opposition to the formation of Jubaland administration in southern Somalia."


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