Towards Somali Federalism? Insights from Puntland’s Presidential Elections
The semi-autonomous state of Puntland in northeast Somalia held presidential elections in early January 2014, with Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas, a former Prime Minister of Somalia, winning a closely contested election run-off over the incumbent President Abdirahman Sheikh Mohamed Farole.
Puntland is the first of Somalia’s federal units to attempt transition from clan-based representation to democratically elected government. However, setbacks after the adoption of a new constitution in 2012 underlined the challenges of reconciling competing clan interests with a democratic constitution. In August 2013, Puntland suspended cooperation with the federal government in Mogadishu in a dispute over the federal constitution, lack of political consultation and the sharing of foreign aid to Somalia.
Michael Walls will discuss the election outcome, Puntland’s future relations with the federal government and the build-up to Somalia’s national elections in 2016.