Puntland Withdraws Recognition of Federal Government as Constitutional Amendments Spark Political Turmoil

Puntland’s regional administration announced on Sunday its decision to withdraw recognition of the Federal Government of Somalia.

The move comes in response to recent constitutional amendments approved by the Somali Federal Parliament, which have raised concerns over national unity and sparked political turmoil.

The crux of Puntland’s grievance lies in the Federal Government’s repeal of the 2012 Provisional Constitution and the subsequent adoption of new laws. Puntland argues that these changes favor specific interests and pose a threat to the federal structure that has historically united the country.

The regional administration has repeatedly warned that such unilateral actions by the Federal Government jeopardize Somalia’s unity and governance. Puntland asserts that these amendments violate the foundational agreements of Somalia’s federal system, as outlined in the Transitional Federal Constitution and the Puntland State Constitution.

Puntland’s stance is supported by constitutional provisions, including Article 142 of the Transitional Federal Constitution, which safeguards the powers of pre-existing administrations until a harmonization of constitutions is achieved. Additionally, Article 4 of the Puntland Constitution empowers the region to reassess its integration with the Federal Central Government, particularly when the federal system is compromised.

The backdrop to this crisis is Somalia’s historic constitutional amendments, which have been a contentious issue among various political stakeholders. The amendments, which alter the power dynamics between the president and the prime minister and introduce a multi-party system, have raised concerns among Puntland and other critics that they could destabilize Somalia’s federal arrangement.

The increased powers of the president, in particular, have raised fears of a centralized authority eroding the autonomy of federal states like Puntland.
While the amendments aimed to address issues such as women’s representation and freedom of expression, they have inadvertently deepened the political divide.

Despite the perceived lack of consensus among Somalia’s federal states, Puntland’s decision to withdraw recognition of the Federal Government was primarily motivated by the implementation of these amendments.
In response, Puntland has declared its intention to operate independently until Somalia establishes a more inclusive and representative constitutional framework.

Prior to the Somali Parliament’s vote on Saturday, former presidents, prominent politicians, and Puntland State leaders strongly opposed President Mohamud’s efforts to amend and review the constitution. The divergent opinions and resistance surrounding the constitutional amendments underscore the significant challenges facing Somalia as it grapples with balancing the interests of various stakeholders and maintaining national unity.

 

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