Traditional elders meeting in Garowe, capital of the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, northeastern Somalia, on Monday approved the extension of the of mandate for the Puntland administration, a senior Puntland official told IRIN. Isma'il Warsame, Chief of Cabinet of the Puntland president, said an "overwhelming" number had approved the extension of the current administration, which was due to expire on 30 June. "Almost 90 percent of the elders attending the conference have supported the government's request" to extend its mandate, he said.
The elders' meeting, which had been going on since 13 June, was reportedly split into two camps, one supporting and one opposing the extension, Muhammad Deq Abdiqadir, editor of 'Sahan' newspaper told IRIN. Warsame, however, denied that there was a split, and said there were only differences on "how to extend and who has the right to extend". Some elders argued that only the House of Representatives of Puntland could extend the mandate, while others argued that the elders should extend. He said the elders had forwarded the matter to the House of Representatives, with the recommendation to extend the mandate of the current administration of President Abdullahai Yusuf.