Garowe, PUNTLAND — In a remarkable turn of events, both the government and opposition in Puntland are echoing a similar sentiment against the one-year extension of the Parliament. The Minister of Information, Mohamud Aydid Dirir, has openly declared the extension null and void, lacking any legal foundation. His statement, backed by the strong stance of the Opposition, underscores a rare moment of unity in Puntland’s often fragmented political landscape.
Minister Aydid’s interview with journalist Ayanle Hussein Abdi brought clarity to the government’s position. He outlined two potential scenarios: either President’s decree dissolving the Parliament or a ruling by the Constitutional Court annulling the extension and subsequently dissolving the Parliament. This decisive stance from a key government figure signifies the seriousness with which the Puntland government views the current parliamentary situation.
Opposition’s Firm Rejection
The Opposition’s outright rejection of the Puntland Parliament’s self-extension further amplifies the widespread disapproval of this move. Farah Ali Shire’s declaration against any form of extension reflects a broader consensus that the current MPs should not extend their term. This insistence on adhering to the norm of selecting new MPs before the presidential elections on 8th January aligns with the Opposition’s commitment to maintain established democratic processes.
The Return to Indirect Elections: A Democratic Setback
The decision to revert to indirect elections, especially after the successful implementation of one-person, one-vote in local council elections, has been a source of considerable disappointment. This shift represents a significant regression in Puntland’s democratic evolution, betraying the aspirations of citizens who have shown overwhelming support for more direct and participatory electoral processes.
Critics argue that the extension of the current Puntland Parliament’s term lacks justification, especially if the electoral process reverts to the previous method of elders selecting MPs. With ample time before year-end for elders to select new MPs, there is a logical path forward that does not require extending the current Parliament. This would allow for the timely election of Speaker, Deputy Speakers, and subsequently, the President and Vice President, maintaining the integrity of Puntland’s political timetable.
Implications for Puntland’s Democratic Progress
The united front presented by both the government and the opposition in this matter is a significant indicator of the collective will to uphold democratic norms. The Parliament’s extension, if allowed to stand, could not only disrupt the political order but also erode the trust and confidence of the public in democratic institutions. The situation demands careful navigation to ensure that Puntland’s strides towards democratic maturity are not reversed.
The resolution of this parliament extension issue hinges on the adherence to Puntland’s legal and constitutional frameworks. The involvement of the Constitutional Court may become pivotal in ensuring that the rule of law prevails over political expediencies. This adherence to legal principles is crucial for the stability and legitimacy of Puntland’s political system.
In summary, the challenge posed by the Parliament’s extension is a critical test for Puntland’s commitment to democratic principles. The united stance of the government and opposition against this extension reflects a shared understanding of the importance of legal and procedural integrity in political processes. As Puntland navigates this complex issue, the focus must remain on maintaining the democratic gains and ensuring that the will of the people is respected and upheld.