Transitioning from a Rigid to a Flexible constitution

Shifting from a rigid parliamentary to a flexible presidential constitution is an inclusive process that is handled with careful consideration and strategic planning. This transformative process that is beneficial adapting in to the Somali government system involves a deliberate shift in the nature and flexibility of the country’s fundamental legal framework. It’s also worth considering the advantages of a flexible or open constitution, allowing for relatively easy amendments or changes in response to societal shifts or emerging issues without necessitating a complete overhaul of the constitution.

Somalia, as a developing nation, initially chose the parliamentary system at its inception. However, over several decades of implementing this system, the country has faced persistent challenges, including pervasive corruption and ongoing conflicts between the president and the prime minister, both asserting themselves for the role of the head of the executive branch. Furthermore, the political history of the country has been spoiled by parliamentary corruption and tribal influences within the Somali political system, serving as a major catalyst for political instability, ineffective governance, and a distortion of the interests of the entire population.

Numerous attempts to reform the system have encountered difficulties, primarily due to a lack of engagement with various stakeholders. The absence of involvement from a diverse range of political leaders, civil society groups, and concerned intellectuals has impeded the legitimacy and acceptance necessary for transitioning to a different political system. The existing constitution, characterized as rigid or closed, further complicates the process of amendment or revision. This rigidity may be intentional, serving the interests of tribal politics and preserving the principles of certain tribal elites. The amendment process, requiring a simple majority vote, often becomes more challenging within this framework. Moreover, the lack of separation of powers has led to potential abuses and misuse of power, accompanied by frequent changes in the head of government, the prime minister, through motions of non-confidence, contributing to frequent political instability.

In response to these challenges, Somalia is now contemplating a shift towards adopting a presidential system. This decision takes into account the looming constitutional crisis and historical patterns of executive power struggles and tribal influences. The envisioned presidential system aims to establish a framework that promotes political stability, effective governance, and the representation of the diverse interests of the population. Notably, it provides a clear separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, with the president directly elected, potentially providing a strong mandate and legitimacy to guide the country through uncertain times.

Dr. Said Mohamud 
Chair of the Somali People’s Democratic Party


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