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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Somali MPs aim to change clan power-sharing law

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A group of 176 Somali legislators is pushing for changes to the law that dictates how power is shared between the country's clans because they believe it is discriminatory, a former deputy speaker said on Tuesday.

Mohamed Omar Dalha, a member of the newly-formed Umbrella for Guidance and Rescuing the Nation, told Reuters the group would seek to abolish Article 29 of the Transitional Federal Charter that institutes a power-sharing governance structure for Somalia's clan-based politics.

According to a formula in the charter, Somalia's four major clans each receive 122 seats in the 550-seat parliament. The remaining 62 seats go to an alliance of dozens of minority clans.

The controversial formula ensures that top leaders such as the president, prime minister, speaker and key ministers are picked from major clans.

"We formed this parliamentary block to lobby the needs of our people in the assembly, abolish or amend articles in the charter that dishonour the culture and Islamic principles of our society," Dalha said.

"It is unfortunate that an article declaring that minority clans make up only half a clan is in our charter, but we want it removed," Dalha said, adding that some MPs from larger clans were supporting their cause.

Dalha said the group planned to transform into a political party should the Horn of Africa nation -- which has struggle to get a central government for nearly two decades -- managed to move toward multiparty polls when the term of the current administration ends in 2011.

"We are working on transforming it into a political force that has grassroots support, and that will depend on if multiparty elections are likely before the end of our term."

Somalia has not had a multiparty system since 1969 when the military assassinated the father of the current Prime Minister Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke in a coup.

Source: Reuters


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