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The semi autonomous state of Puntland may postpone presidential elections for an additional year if a referendum process for a current draft constitution is passed. It will allow the current administration to rule for an additional year in which a multi-party system is to be established as part of the enactment of the new constitution.
Opposition leaders have expressed their disapproval of the extension and identify this particular issue as one that they would prefer to be revised once the draft constitution is approved and finalized.
Somalia Report spoke to the state house spokesman Ahmed Omar Hersi (Libax Jora) who clarified the status of their stand. He stated that if the draft constitution is passed by selected regional representatives, the current government and its parliament are to automatically extend their leadership mandate for an additional year. This means that the current government will hold office until January 2014. Its previous reigning period was limited to January 2013 and a presidential election expected at that time.
“We have a draft constitution which details arrangements for the administration. It extends the mandate of the government to a five year term as opposed to the previous four years,” he explained.
“The draft constitution of Puntland will not be accepted through public voting since various challenges facing the administration will not allow that. It will be voted for by 480 representatives comprising elders, local leaders, women, youth and religious scholars from Puntland regions. Parliament will not vote for the draft constitution,” he added.
The draft constitution permits approval by representatives in the event that a national referendum exercise cannot be fully and fairly implemented. It illustrates the establishment of a multi-party system and the creation of a committee that will plan and monitor elections.
Mr.Omar also confirmed to Somalia Report that officials of Puntland comprising the parliament and local elders have no qualms with the adjustment in presidential term. He advised potential presidential hopefuls and opposition leaders to respect the draft constitution which is meant to foster peace and stability in the region.
Puntland’s draft constitution is set to be finalized by April 2012 and a decree to this effect was signed by President Mohamed Faroole during a function for the approval of the proposed timeline.