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Puntland election in May could result in political unrest, warns Somalia's President Mohamud

Sunday May 7, 2023


Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud chastised Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni during a Friday sermon at Villa Somalia Mosque, with Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, and other top Somali officials present.

President Mohamud took issue with President Deni's handling of the Puntland election, cautioning him and his administration against conducting an election without consensus, which could result in political unrest.

He called on Puntland's leadership to avoid actions that might undermine the region's established order. Puntland is scheduled to conduct statewide direct local elections on May 24, following a pilot election in December.

"The Puntland President should be mindful of the people's political aspirations and listen to politicians and local traditional leaders who champion development. We won't let 24 years of progress be unravelled quickly," stated President Mohamud.

This strong critique comes amidst a political tussle between Somalia's federal government in Mogadishu and Puntland and barely a week after former Puntland President, now senior Senator Abdirahman Faroole, warned Deni not to amend the state's constitution. 

In January, President Deni cut ties with Somalia's federal government, declaring that Puntland would function autonomously until a constitution was drafted and a referendum held.

This political tension caused Deni to forgo the National Consultative Council (NCC) meeting in Baidoa in mid-March, where Somali federal and regional leaders agreed to prioritize resolving the political impasse before reconvening.

President Mohamud's comments also follow the Puntland Council of Ministers' recent approval of political party expansion, a decision opposed by the forum representing opposition politicians in Puntland.


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