Somali constitution clear on roles of president, prime minister and parliament

November 15, 2013

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As differences between Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon appear to remain unresolved, the Somali constitution is clear about the delineation of powers between the two public offices and the role of parliament in such disputes.

Article 100 of the Somali constitution grants the prime minister the power to "appoint and dismiss members of the Council of Ministers" and "present the Council of Ministers and government programme before the House of the People of the Federal Parliament to seek their endorsement".

Article 90 gives the president the power to "appoint the prime minister" but not dismiss him. However, the president is granted the power "to dissolve the federal government [comprised of the prime minister and the Council of Ministers] if it does not get the required vote of confidence". Article 90 also gives the president the power to "dismiss ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers on the recommendation of the prime minister".

Article 69 gives the House of the People of the Federal Parliament the power to endorse or remove the prime minister. It says the House has the power to "give a vote of confidence in the prime minister and the Council of Ministers, and in government projects, to be conducted by a simple majority vote of the total members (50%+1)" or to "carry out a vote of no confidence in the prime minister and his deputy or deputies" by the same means.

Somali parliamentarians speak out

Sabahi spoke to a number of members of parliament about this issue. Here is what they said:

Lawmaker Mohamed Abdi Yussuf said the conflict was based on how changes should be made in the administration. He said the prime minister wants a reshuffle in the administration, while the president wants the prime minister to resign so that he can name a new prime minister.

Yussuf said the prime minister is empowered by the constitution to reshuffle the cabinet, but he must bring it before parliament for approval.

He also clarified that "the president can appoint a prime minister but has no constitutional power to ask the prime minister to resign".

"The president can appoint a prime minister but has no constitutional power to ask the prime minister to resign," he said.

"The work of the prime minister is to form the government and bring it before the parliament for approval but not to seek permission from the president as stipulated in Article 100 of the constitution," Yussuf said.

Lawmaker Abdi Barre Yusuf said he and his colleagues met with the president and the prime minister, and they each explained their side of the dispute.

"The prime minister told us the president and him have disagreements on constitutional affairs, which is how the cabinet will be appointed, such as add this minister for me and similar things," Yusuf said, explaining that when the president and the prime minister were unable to agree on the reshuffling process, the president asked the prime minister to step down.

"The prime minster wants them to go to parliament together and solve their issues legally, while the president wants the prime minister to resign without going to parliament," Yusuf said.

Lawmaker Abdirahman Hosh Jibril said he thought it was illegal for the prime minister to appoint a cabinet without the counsel and the approval of the president.

"The prime minister has no right to appoint ministers and present them to parliament. The president and the prime minister have to agree on the list of minsters first," he said, although this contradicts the articles stated above.

"If they cannot agree, the last place the two leaders can settle their dispute is in parliament," he said, adding that the dispute between the two leaders is not based on constitutional affairs, but is a political dispute.

On Thursday (November 14th), Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Osman Jawari held a press conference at his office in Mogadishu and called on lawmakers not to spread rumours about the dispute between the two leaders.

He said he was confident that the parliament would settle any dispute that arises, and also urged the Somali people to remain confident in parliament's work.

"If there is a political disagreement between the leaders of the country, first they should discuss their differences and try to solve it," Jawari said. "If they fail to do that, then the national assembly will make a decision because the main reason why the parliament was formed was solve those kinds of disputes."

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Reader's Comments

  • moalin
    January 18, 2014 @ 07:07:32PM

    Si fcn

  • hanad ali siciid
    December 30, 2013 @ 11:55:56PM

    What should I say please because the story has ended and the prime minister has been forced to resign. I would like to pray to God to put up a just government in our country.

  • Mohamed Ege
    November 17, 2013 @ 04:41:13AM

    Hello. We far from Somalis united again with that goverment base on tribe

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