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Somalia’s Parliament Approves Bill Granting President Authority To Appoint Prime Minister

A number of Somali political personalities are against new constitutional modifications due to concerns about insufficient consensus.

Somalia has made an important constitutional amendment that gives the president the power to appoint and remove the prime minister. This decision was made after lengthy discussions in the federal assembly in Mogadishu and was approved by a significant majority of parliament.

The amendments were proposed by the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission’s (ICRIC) and underwent thorough scrutiny. The chairperson of the Constitutional Review Committee, Hussein Idow, announced that three draft provisions concerning religion would undergo further review to ensure alignment with Somali principles and values.

After nearly ten years of deliberation, these revisions gained traction in the latter part of 2023. Their objective is to tackle long standing disputes in Somali politics including the power battles between prime ministers and presidents, which are frequently fueled by vague constitutional provisions.

This significant modification which gives the president the power to appoint the prime minister takes the place of the prior need for votes of legislative confidence. This modification aims to alleviate tensions resulting from the distribution of authority and resources across clans and regions, and to give more flexibility in governance.

The amended constitution also introduces a five-year term for government bodies, refers to regional state leaders as presidents, and promotes a multi-party system.

On the other hand, a number of political personalities, including former presidents and state leaders, are against these modifications due to concerns about insufficient consensus.

The ICRIC proposed amendments in February that addressed a number of issues, such as the criminalization of female genital mutilation and the age at which females should be considered mature. Although the accepted modifications set the age of accountability at eighteen and maturity at fifteen, rights organizations warn that this could increase the likelihood of child marriage, especially for girls.

Human Rights Watch emphasizes the need to uphold constitutional protections for children, underscoring the importance of meeting international human rights commitments.

Melissa Enoch

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