Somalia abolishes premier post, introduces presidential model
MOGADISHU - Somali leaders have agreed to abolish the current parliamentary "makeshift" system, in a historic move that would see the introduction of the presidential model, with the revolutionary agreement set to be implemented gradually before the 2026 elections by realigning regional leadership into smooth transitions.
While the Prime Minister has been the absolute head of government in the country, the powers of the holders are usually limited given that they are nominees of the president, who can dismiss them with the approval of the bicameral legislature. The system has been hectic, leading to persistent wrangles in government.
But unknown to many, the National Consultative Council [NCC] through the technical team, has been meeting silently to polish the country's electoral system which is usually a "do or die affair". Without solid constitutional and legal frameworks, holders of certain offices have often been tempted to extend power, leading to political unrest.
Should the agreement be implemented, the country will shift from the tedious clan-based electoral model to universal suffrage, which proved difficult for implementation in 2022. With regional leaders also in the picture, the model will be implemented progressively from 2024 and holders of various offices will serve for a five-year term before re-election.
In this new agreement, there will be a single constituency, proportional representation closed list electoral system. The country will be governed by an executive president with a vice president directly elected on a joint ticket by the people just like many countries across the globe.
Drafters also proposed that Somalia has only two political parties which will compete democratically for the people’s vote. It is instructive to note that the term of the current president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will elapse in 2026 given that he was elected through the old model last year.
A unified election schedule for regional elections will be implemented across the country as a cure for confusion and uncertainty across the region. The first popular local council elections nationwide including Banadir which hosts Mogadishu take place June 30, 2024, the agreement reads.
Regional parliaments and regional leadership elections take place on November 30, 2024, the drafters added, in a proposal that could end internal fights across regions. For instance, Puntland leaders have been accusing the current leader Said Abdullahi Deni of plotting to extend his term illegally.
The proposals were sanctioned by the NCC leadership which brings together the president, prime minister, the Banadir Mayor, and the regional leadership. However, it is not clear if the Puntland leadership was involved in the talks given that in recent weeks, Deni has been acting with independence over differences with Mogadishu.
The model will be implemented after a series of trials especially in Puntland which have triggered heated debate and divisions as the region tries to implement the universal suffrage model. The breakaway region of Somaliland successfully conducted one-man-one-vote elections two years ago.
Also discussed in the agreement was the prioritization of debt forgiveness and plans for improved post-relief financial management. Somali Federal Government was urged to implement agreed resolutions besides reaffirming unity, calls for an immediate ceasefire in Somaliland, and swift aid for those affected by violence.
Furthermore, the agreement appealed for immediate aid to flood victims and emphasizes strengthened inter-agency cooperation for effective federalization. The council also acknowledged Puntland's peaceful local council elections and urged similar conduct for upcoming elections.