Lawmakers in breakaway Somaliland extend president’s term
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The House of Elders in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland has extended the term of office of President Muse Bihi Abdi by two years, a decision expected to cause more unrest by opposition groups.
Sulayman Mohamud Adan, the speaker of the chamber, said lawmakers voted 72-1 with one abstention in favor of the president’s request for the term extension.
In August, at least five people were killed and 100 injured at protests where demonstrators demanded the holding of elections in November. They feared the president would postpone the vote and extend his term.
The Somaliland National Electoral Commission later announced it had postponed the election until July 2023, saying the previously scheduled date of Nov. 13 was not viable due to time, technical and financial constraints.
The president assumed office in 2017, and his term was due to expire next month.
Omar Nur, the sole lawmaker to vote against the extension, told The Associated Press he decided to oppose it because parliament members weren’t consulted before the proposal was submitted.
“I don’t want to see our country plunging into chaos,” he said.
Somaliland, a region of more than 3 million people strategically located by the Gulf of Aden, broke away from Somalia in 1991 as the country collapsed into warlord-led conflict.
The region has maintained its own government, currency, and security system despite its lack of international recognition.
Over the years, Somaliland has largely succeeded in holding regular elections, including parliamentary elections last year.