Somalia’s Federal Constitution Approved by Parliamentary Vote

Published: March 30, 2024

In a historic move, members of both houses of Somalia’s Federal Parliament have voted to approve the country’s federal constitution after years of controversy and delays.

The parliamentary session on Saturday was attended by 254 MPs from the Upper House and House of the People. Sheikh Adan Mohamed Noor, Speaker of the House of the People, proceeded directly to a vote on the constitution, with each chamber voting separately.

In the 54-member Upper House, 42 MPs were present, with all voting in favor – surpassing the two-thirds majority of 36 votes needed for approval. Similarly, in the 275-member House of the People, 212 MPs voted unanimously to approve the first four chapters.

Burhan Adan Omar, Chairman of the Independent Constitutional Review Committee, hailed the vote as “a victory for the Somali nation” and an achievement previous parliaments could not realize. MP Hussein Idow, Chairman of the Constitutional Review and Monitoring Committee, stated the approved version “reflects the Somali perspective” and “belongs to the Somali nation.”

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has invested significant efforts into finalizing and implementing the constitution, which has faced opposition. The regional Puntland government rejected the process as being unilateral, while former presidents Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed have voiced concerns over lack of consensus.

Despite parliamentary approval, the constitution still requires a public referendum to complete Somalia’s transition to a permanent constitutional democracy, a key task awaiting Mohamud’s government.

The vote marks a crucial milestone but challenges remain in unifying the nation around the new constitutional order.