Somali Parliament approves constitutional amendments to political system in country

Approved 4 chapters include freedom of expression, women's representation, and leadership system

Somalia’s two houses of parliament unanimously approved four chapters of its constitution on Saturday, paving the way for a new political system in the country.

Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nur, speaker of Somalia’s lower house or Federal Parliament, presided over the meeting in the capital Mogadishu and announced the vote, saying parliamentarians from both chambers of Somalia’s bicameral legislature unanimously adopted the amendment.

The parliament approved four chapters, which include freedom of expression, women’s representation, and a leadership system.

The new system will give Somalia three national political parties and allow citizens to directly elect the head of state, who will also appoint and fire a prime minister.

The current constitution only allows the president to appoint the prime minister, but parliament has the authority to remove him.

The vote was held despite widespread opposition from opposition leaders, including former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared the parliamentary vote, as well as the overhaul of the country’s electoral system and the reintroduction of universal suffrage, to be “historic” for Somalia.

Last year, Mohamud promised to end the country’s complex clan-based indirect voting system, which has been in place for more than half a century.

During Saturday’s vote, the parliament also postponed voting on three constitutional provisions, including the right to life, religious freedom, and the age of maturity.


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