“It is unacceptable that our country returns to the same ugly path it took 30 years ago. We have chosen to solve our differences among us, so that foreign elements would not take advantage of our disagreements.” President Farmajo tells parliament on decision to reverse presidential term extension.
Somalia’s lawmakers have on Saturday unanimously voted to cancel a cancelled a two-year term extension they granted themselves and President Mohamed Farmaajo, ending a heap of pressure on his administration.
Decision by the lower house of Parliament to reverse a 2-year term extension might end a political stand-off and ease internal and international pressure that had come as a result of the April 12 resolution to extend presidential terms.
The Parliament — responding to a request by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, nicknamed Farmajo, asking lawmakers to restore last year’s agreement between the federal government and the leaders of five federal member states and the governor of Mogadishu — has unanimously voted for the reversal. The move could help to defuse an armed stand-off in capital city Mogadishu.
Somali Speaker of Parliament saiys that all 140 lawmakers at the meeting have voted “yes” on the agreement.
President Farmajo has earlier before the vote expressed willingnesd to hand over the electoral process and the leadership of the country’s security to Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.
“I want to clear in front of the Parliament that I will hand over the electoral process and the leadership of the country’s security to Prime Minister Roble, and I call for politicians who differ from us to work for the common good of our nation and our people.” Farmajo addresses the parliament shortly before voting.
He further disclosed that he made the decision in an effort to save the country from returning to a civil war.
“It is unacceptable that our country returns to the same ugly path it took 30 years ago. We have chosen to solve our differences among us, so that foreign elements would not take advantage of our disagreements.”
The president’s request was the result of pressure by Somalia’s international partners, including the United States, who opposed the term extension that triggered armed clashes in Mogadishu between government soldiers and those loyal to opposition candidates, including two former presidents and a prime minister.
Pressure reached its peak last Tuesday when two federal members states that are allies of the president, Galmudug and Hirshabell, broke ranks with Farmajo and opposed the term extension, joining Puntland and Jubaland states.
Country’s Prime minister Hussein Roble immediately issued a statement endorsing the joint statement issued by the two federal member states.
Later the same day, Farmajo said he would ask Parliament to reverse the extension and urged the signatories of the September 17 agreement for immediate talks to discuss the way forward to implement the agreement without conditions.
The decision by parliament to rule out term extensions mean that Somalia will hold indirect elections as per the September 17 agreement.
According to clauses in the September 17 agreement, federal lawmakers would be indirectly elected who then would then elect the president.
That agreement was unilaterally invalidated by the lower house without the upper house vote, giving the executive and legislative branches two more years to prepare popular elections.
Mohamed Farmajo signed the resolution into law on April 13, triggering opposition anger and the disapproval of the international community. It also split Somalia’s national army and police forces along clan lines, threatening the security of the capital.
The president’s term expired on February 8, 2021, while the Parliament’s mandate ended on December 27, 2020.
A number of residents in Mogadishu who have been worrying about the crisis created by the term extension, expressed relief and welcomed the decision made by the parliament and the president.