24 July 2012

Somalia: UN Envoy Welcomes Progress Towards Adoption of New Constitution

A constitution has been approved in Somalia, paving the way for a new government later this month. ( Resource: Inside Story - Is Somalia Ready for Real Democracy? )

The United Nations envoy for Somalia has welcomed the progress made in the selection of the 825 members of the national body that will convene this week to discuss, vote on and adopt a new provisional constitution for the Horn of Africa nation.

"It is encouraging to see that progress is being made," the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), Augustine Mahiga, said yesterday.

"I urge Somalia's traditional and political leaders to do all that is necessary to complete in a timely manner the tasks that have been entrusted to them by their people to carry Somalia forward to a new political future," he added.

The members of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), drawn from all Somali clans, will meet for nine days beginning tomorrow on the new provisional constitution, which will provide the legal framework governing the workings of the new Somali Federal Institutions after August 2012, when the current transition period is due to end.

It will also be the basis for further constitutional refinements before it is finally adopted by a referendum, UNPOS stated in a news release issued in the capital, Mogadishu.

"The provisional constitution will be a pillar upon which the new parliament will build the new Somalia," said Mr. Mahiga, stressing that the process must continue to be "legitimate, accountable, transparent, participatory, inclusive and, most importantly, Somali-led."

He added that this is "a moment of optimism for all Somalis," after several milestones in a long journey. "It marks significant progress towards ending the transition and providing the new political institutions for a stable and functional state in Somalia after 21 years of political and civil strife."

After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with the country's Transitional Federal Institutions currently implementing the so-called Roadmap for the End of Transition in Somalia, devised in September last year, that spells out priority measures to be carried out before the current transitional governing arrangements end on 20 August.

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