MOGADISHU – Somali politics were thrown into a state of confusion on Monday as the country’s two houses of parliament clashed on the status of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
The lower house of parliament voted to extend the term of the president and his government by two years after election dispute, while the upper house described the move as unconstitutional.
The special session saw 149 legislators of the lower house back the proposal. The resolution also orders the election commission of Somalia to hold new polls in under two years.
Under Somali law, the proposal has to be voted on by the upper house of parliament.
“President Farmajo welcomes parliament’s decision to return power to the Somali people,” the country’s leader said in a tweet.
The latest round of talks to resolve Somalia’s election impasse collapsed last Wednesday. The federal government blamed leaders of Puntland and Jubbaland regional governments for the failure.
President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo’s term officially ended on February 8.
Monday’s development is likely to be rejected by the opposition, which has accused Farmajo of deliberately frustrating the election process to extend his rule.
The poll deadlock has plunged Somalia into a political crisis. There is concern that terrorist group Al Shabab might exploit the disagreement to further undermine the already fragile security of the Horn of Africa.
The opposition, led by former prime minister, Hassan Ali Khaire, warned that extending the president’s term could have negative consequences.
He said that it was the right time for Somalis to acknowledge that the decision by outgoing president regarding his illegal stay in office was leading to a dangerous path. The former PM added that history will judge the decisions taken by the leaders if they are not careful.
Earlier, the country’s police chief Abdi Mohamed Hassan had fired Mogadishu regional police commander General Sadik Omar after he tried to suspend the parliamentary session, citing security concerns.