Somali constitutional review process launched as historic convention concludes in Mogadishu

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The Prime Minister of Somalia, Hassan Ali Khaire, addresses participants during the opening of the national constitutional convention, Mogadishu 13 May 2018. UN Photo / Ilyas Ahmed
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Senior officials of the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States, UN representatives and members of civil society organizations attend the national constitutional convention in Mogadishu on 15 May 2018. Credit: Ministry of Constitutional Affairs of the Federal Government of Somalia
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The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating, addresses participants during the closing session of the national constitutional convention in Mogadishu on 15 May 2018. UN Photo / Ilyas Ahmed

Mogadishu, 15 May 2018.  A review process of the Somali constitution has been launched this week following a historic three-day national convention which concluded in Mogadishu on Tuesday. The convention was attended by over 350 representatives from the Federal Government, Federal Member States, civil society, and Somali diaspora. International representatives and ambassadors also attended the three-day event. The national convention was opened on Sunday by the Prime Minister of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Ali Khaire.

It is aimed that the constitutional review process will lead to a permanent constitution of Somalia, to replace a provisional constitution adopted in 2012. The new constitution is expected to be ready in 2019 before the country holds a ‘one-person, one-vote election’ in 2020.  Participants at the convention discussed the next steps of the review process and examined issues such as the sharing of powers and resources between the Federal Government and the Federal Member States.

In his opening address at the convention on Sunday the Prime Minister reiterated his Government’s commitment to the completion of a Somali owned and inclusive process. “I confirm that my government has pledged $3 million for the constitution process to be finalized. This pledge should produce a Somalia-owned document, and a new Somali unity that rebuilds the Somali nation we have lost,” he said.

Women’s groups and civil society organisations during the three-day event encouraged the Federal Government and Federal Member States to engage in constructive dialogue on power sharing and to ensure political stability in the country.

The event closed on Tuesday with attendees issuing a declaration for the next steps of the review process, which included a commitment to correcting technical errors in the constitution, promoting political dialogue and agreement between the Federal Government and Federal Member States and translating such agreement into articles in the constitution. The declaration also outlined a commitment that the chapters and articles of the constitution would be approved by parliamentary sessions in 2019.

The Speaker of the House of the People, Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman, officially closed the event with a message from President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmaajo’ who said the Government of Somalia is determined to complete the process ahead of the scheduled end of 2019 completion date, and expressed hope that the finalised constitution will lead to national unity. “I hope that this process will bring political stability, protect and promote human rights, strengthen federalism and democracy, and bring about peace and harmony within Somalia and the region,” the President’s message said.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Mr. Michael Keating, congratulated the Somali government on the milestone event and in developing a timetable for the new constitution. He added he would mobilize financial resources from the international community to add to the $3 million pledged by the Federal Government of Somalia, to assist in concluding the process.

“Politically, my colleagues in the UN will do their best to provide technical advice and will also do our best to mobilize financial resources,” Mr. Keating said.

The National Convention was supported by funding from Norway.

UNDP provides support to the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs, the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission (ICRIC), the Oversight Committee (OC) and the Federal Member States (FMS), on the Constitutional Review Roadmap, and on issues such as civic education and public participation, national dialogue and consensus-building forums, and the alignment of Federal Member State Constitutions with the Federal Constitution.

Contacts:

Nahid Hussein, Chief Technical Advisor, UNDP Somalia Inclusive Politics Portfolio. Email: nahid.hussein@undp.org

Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, UNDP Somalia. Email: keelin.fitzgerald@undp.org

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