MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – The Somali president has eagerly signed an extension of his կառավարության government mandate as the United States և threatens further sanctions and warns of further instability in one of the world’s most fragile countries.
The closure prolongs a month-long electoral crisis following the postponement of a national vote in February. Critics say President Mohammed Abdullah’s tenure is over. The international community has opposed the extension of its mandate, warning that al-Qaeda-linked extremist group al-Shabab could take advantage of the country’s hot political divisions.
The president signed the controversial law late Tuesday evening after the lower house of parliament voted this week to effectively extend his term for two years, while calling for direct elections during that time. Senate leaders, however, called the vote illegal, and the Somali opposition protested.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said he threatens the possibility of sanctions, visa restrictions and a “reassessment of our bilateral relations.” The statement called on the Somali federal government and regional states to return to talks on the election crisis.
The European Union (EU) has warned that the signing of this week’s decision would divide Somalia, saying “there will be a serious threat to the peace and stability of Somalia, its neighbors”, and that it would consider “concrete measures”.
Britain said this week’s move “undermines the credibility of the Somali leadership” and threatened to work with international partners to “reassess our relationship and the nature of the assistance provided to Somalia”.
Disappointment deepened in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
“What happened can be described as a coup carried out by a group of people who have been hungry for power for so long,” said Abdullah Shirvan, the leader of civil society. “This is like the craziest political game” in a country already struggling with instability, climate change and humanitarian crises.
The Somali government has been unable to reach an agreement on holding elections for months, with regional’s state of Puntland bubblանդb objecting to certain issues and warning the international community of holding by-elections. The inflation led to deadly violence against protesters who opposed the postponement of the election.
Controversial issues surrounding the election process, which lasted for months, included the formation of an electoral governing commission and the election of members of the disbanded Somaliland district commission.
For decades, Somalia has not had the direct choice of one vote per person.
The country began to collapse in 1991 when warlords ousted dictator Siad Barre and then turned to each other. Years of clashes and attacks by al-Shabab, along with famine, have largely shattered this horn of Africa, home to some 12 million people.
Al-Shabab controls much of central-central Somalia, often targeting the capital with suicide bombings. Extremist extremist groups have often been the target of US military airstrikes.