• Mogadishu

  • Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 6:29 AM
    Last Update : Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 4:47 AM

Constitutional Amendments are a “Coup” Against Legitimacy, Puntland Minister Says

(AWP) - Puntland State’s Minister of Information said that he considers the new constitutional amendments in Somalia a “coup” against the country’s legitimacy.

Minister Mohamud Aydid Dirir said in an interview with AWP, “There is a conflict of powers between the legislative and executive bodies, as Parliament with its two chambers – The People’s Assembly and the Senate – acted as an executive authority instead of objecting to the unilateral actions taken by the current government to pass constitutional amendments.”

He added, “There is an overlap between ministers and members of the two chambers regarding powers. The Somali president has also lost his legitimacy because he amended the constitution on which he was elected without the approval of the concerned authorities or any popular referendum, making this a coup against [legitimate] authority.”

In April, the Puntland State government voiced its opposition to the central government in Mogadishu by withdrawing confidence from its representatives in both houses of the Somali Parliament.

The Minister of Information pointed out that there have been ongoing disputes between Puntland and the Somali central government due to attempts by the country's successive presidents to unilaterally amend the constitution over the years.

Dirir said, “Relations between the state of Puntland and the central government have always been unstable since 2012, due to disputes related to the country’s interim constitution, because every president tries to change constitutional provisions without the approval of the federal states.”

“Puntland state, which was established in 1998, objected to the central government’s efforts to amend the country’s agreed interim constitution, and demanded a return to the constitution,” he added.

The Puntland Information Minister also claims that the central Somali government has “lost its legitimacy” by amending the interim constitution without obtaining the approval of the concerned authorities or conducting a national referendum.

He said, “Disputes between the state and the central government continued until we reached April 2024, when the current government changed the interim constitution, which Puntland state objected to once again. The agreed-upon interim constitution is the one that ensures the cohesion and unity of the Somali people.”

The minister stressed, “Any change to the constitution without the approval of the concerned authorities or [without] holding a popular referendum will cause central government to lose its legitimacy. On this basis the current government has lost its legitimacy.”

Last month, Puntland representatives in both the Somali upper and lower houses announced their intention to negotiate with the central government after the President of Puntland State, Said Abdullahi Deni, cut his administration’s ties with Mogadishu.