Somalia: Puntland constitutional court nullifies assembly's term extension
GAROWE, Somalia - Puntland continues to face an electoral crisis as the Federal State's Constitutional Court nullified the MPs who voted for a one-year extension of their term amid efforts to defuse the disputes and hold a timely election next month.
Days ago, the state's journey to the election suffered a huge setback after lawmakers extended their mandate for 12 months, effectively paving the way for the postponement of the voting date, 8th January 2024.
The House's decision was undertaken slightly 12 hours after Deni had yielded to pressure from the opposition and cancelled plans to hold direct elections in favour of the traditional model which gives elders more powers to determine leadership.
Despite the hide-and-seek games by the regional administration, the Constitutional Court dismissed the term extension, effectively paving the way for an election in January 2024 when the current term of lawmakers and Deni ends, and, or another possible tussle.
The opposition has frequently accused Deni of conspiracy to extend his term contrary to the laws of the state, which is considered the most stable and peaceful region in Somalia. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed last week's settlement by elders to have indirect polls.
Meanwhile, Puntland soldiers complaining about unpaid salaries blocked the flow of traffic in and out of Bosaso port city, on Sunday. They closed the main road that connects Bosaso to the capital Garowe, witnesses told Garowe Online.
The outgoing president Deni was accused of diverting the civil servants' and security forces' payments to disputed local elections. Deni has struggled to lead the region for the last five years, with his leadership frequented by persistent protests by opposition and soldiers.
Puntland opposition teams have vowed to hold elections by January 8th 2024 should the Electoral Commission fail to undertake the exercise as enshrined in the constitution. It is anticipated that the electoral impasse could be solved before elections take place.