Somalia: 26 Puntland MPs 'join opposition' to President Gaas


GAROWE, Somalia May 16, 2015 (Garowe Online) - At least 26 Members of Parliament in Puntland have joined an opposition camp that has criticised Puntland President Dr Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas for "weak leadership and security failures", Garowe Online reports.

Puntland has a 66-member unicameral parliament with wide legislative powers and the authority to elect a president and vice president once every five years.

The dissident MPs are demanding an emergency session, but Parliament Speaker Said Hassan Shire declined an emergency session request on May 12th after 21 MPs tabled a similar motion demanding an emergency session. Within 24 hours, however, six MPs withdrew from the opposition camp and sided with Speaker Shire, who argued against an emergency session suggesting instead that MPs wait until June 15th, when the official session commences.

The group of MPs, led by MP Abdiaziz Ga'amey, are in their final push for an emergency session where they are expected to table criticism of President Gaas and his administration on "shortcomings on security, Somaliland's capture of Tukaraq village near Garowe, Al Shabaab threat on Bossaso port city, and misbalanced Puntland-federal relations", according to parliamentary sources. 

Some MPs have expressed concern over alleged interference by Gaas administration officials who are attempting dismantle the growing political opposition.

The Puntland presidency has not so far commented on the new development in parliament, which seems to be a worrying trend for President Gaas who was censured for his unclear relations with Somali Federal Government and the issue of Mudug region.

Puntland Constitution stipulates that an emergency session can be opened if at least six MPs submit a motion and voting can occur once 22 MPs are present. Puntland State, a vast territory in northeastern Somalia, has been self-governing since 1998 with a constitution, security forces and presidential elections.

Source: Garowe Online

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