Puntland Minister of Information rejects parliament’s mandate extension

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Puntland’s Minister of Information, Mohamud Aydid Dirir, opposed the decision of the regional parliament to extend its mandate by one year on Thursday and asserted that the parliament doesn’t have the power to block the government.

Minister Dirir, a close cabinet member to President Said Deni, described the parliament’s decision as illegal, which surprised the people. He emphasized that the President has already rejected the decision made by the SSC-Khatumo traditional elders committee, stating that the traditional elders do not have the power to make political decisions.

Puntland Regional State Parliament voted to extend its term by one year following the decision from the SSC-Khatumo traditional committee regarding the election dispute. The committee, working to resolve the election dispute, proposed that current parliament members would elect the President and vice president. Subsequently, they would plan for a new parliamentary election, using the one-person, one-vote election model, twelve months later.

During Thursday’s parliamentary session, lawmakers endorsed the decision of the elders, asserting that they took charge of the decision on electoral issues. The Speaker of Parliament, Abdirashid Yusuf Jibril, announced that he would appoint the committee to elect the President and vice president in the next few hours.

On Wednesday, the President of the semi-autonomous state of Puntland, Said Deni, rolled back plans to hold next year’s parliamentary polls via a one-person, one-vote system. Instead, he opted to continue with a complex, clan-based ballot.

In May, the oil-rich region staged its first direct polls in more than half a century during local council elections, a move hailed by international partners as historic.

At the time, opposition politicians accused Puntland State President Said Abdullahi Deni of manipulating the election procedure and seeking to amend the constitution to enable him to extend his mandate, which will end in January.

Deni said late Wednesday that parliamentary elections would be held on January 8, with clan representatives selecting 66 MPs.