Somalia: Muse Bihi under pressure to quit as term expires in Somaliland


HARGEISA - Somaliland is back to the famous political squabbles following the expiry of the presidential term of Muse Bihi Abdi, with the region yet to put mechanisms for polls which were expected to be held before the end of this year according to the state's constitution.

On Sunday, opposition leaders in Hargeisa vowed never to recognize President Muse Bihi Abdi who they termed as "Kulmiye party leader" in their lengthy statement. According to the region's constitution, incumbent President Muse Bihi was to leave office on Sunday.

Last month, however, the House of Elders [Guurte] extended Bihi's term by two years contrary to the expectations of the opposition, which is pushing for polls in the state of Somalia. The opposition accuses Bihi, a former Somalia Air Force officer, of mutilating the constitution for his "personal gains".

Presidential candidate and Waddani party leader Abdirahman Irro, in the company of other politicians, including Faisal Ali Ware from UCID, maintained Bihi's moves lack the will of the people, noting that the region ought to hold elections to avoid the current political impasse.

"We no longer recognize Muse Bihi and his government as the legitimate government as of right now," he said. "He will be referred to as the President whose term has expired, the President who lacks the support and will of the people, and finally the Chairman of the Kulmiye party."

Last year, Somaliland held successful parliamentary elections which saw the ruling Kulmiye party lose to the opposition, which collectively managed to secure 52 seats of the 82 which were available for grabs. Since losing the assembly, Bihi has returned to seek favours in the House of Elders.

It is expected that members of the international community would arrive in Hargeisa and try to mediate the standoff before it gets out of control. The region's electoral body had recently issued a statement, maintaining that it was depleted and could not hold timely elections.

Somaliland said it detached itself from Somalia in 1991 and since then, it has been running a separate government with its own army and central bank. However, efforts to be recognized as a sovereign state have failed, with Somalia insisting the region still remains part of her territory.


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