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Somalia: Puntland Parliament Will Decide on New Constitution, Says Speaker


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Garowe Online (Garowe)

8 July 2008
Posted to the web 9 July 2008


The parliament of Somalia's regional government of Puntland will debate and decide on a new constitution that has already stirred political controversy.

Ahmed Ali Hashi, Speaker of the Puntland Parliament, told a press conference in the provincial capital Garowe on Tuesday that debate on the new constitution will begin on July 21.

He indicated that lawmakers will ratify the water policy law with ease, but suggested the ratification process for the new constitution might take days or weeks.

Asked about the traditional elders' recent press communiqué rejecting the constitution, Speaker Hashi said: "If the [Puntland] Parliament passes [the constitution], no one can stop it. And if Parliament rejects [the constitution], then it is sent back."

Puntland lawmaker Abdirashid Mohamed Hersi told Radio Garowe that the parliament has been in session for "more than 20 days," but alleged that "nothing was been done."

He stated that there are three issues that must be addressed immediately, saying: "Parliament funds that have been stolen, laws that have been violated by parliament leaders [the Speaker and two Deputy Speaker] and abuse of parliamentary regulations with regard to votes."

The region's parliament has been divided since March, when the session ended with Speaker Hashi being accused of "illegal" conduct during a vote on the controversial Puntland oil law.

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Many lawmakers and influential traditional elders in Puntland have publicly expressed their opposition to the new constitution, which critics say was written by individuals closely associated with Puntland leader Adde Muse.

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