Garowe — The president of Somalia's Puntland government has urged the country's new national government to 'abide by the federal constitution', Garowe Online reports.
Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole addressed the opening day of the Horseed political association's first congress on Wednesday in Garowe, the capital of Puntland.
The first congress was held at the Puntland State University (PSU) compound and attended over 550 delegates from all eight regions of Puntland, Horseed political association's organizers told the media.
Delegates to the first congress are expected to discuss the political association's charter and program, vote to reject or ratify the charter and program, and vote to elect members to Horseed political association's Central Committee.
President Farole, the caretaker chairman of Horseed political association, addressed the first congress and thanked all the delegates who traveled from distant locations to attend the congress in Garowe.
"Today, Puntland is advancing towards its dream and moving forward and we can see the growing popular support for the multi-party system in Puntland," said President Farole.
He noted that his administration's commitment to advancing the democratization process in Puntland, saying: "We declared that political associations can be formed to compete in multiparty elections and we welcome the democratization process, as we transition from a clan based system to a democratic political system."
Speaking about the federal government, President Farole said that Puntland "played an undeniably instrumental role" in the national political process of developing a federal constitution, establishing a federal parliament and electing a new president of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
"The Somali people have suffered since the days of military dictatorship. The 1991 massacres that targeted particular [Somali] clans in Mogadishu and other areas of southern Somalia must be addressed and those who committed the massacres and looted the people's properties must request forgiveness," President Farole said.
Continuing, the Puntland leader urged the Somali federal government to "abide by the federal constitution of Somalia," adding: "Puntland will not watch and sit if the Somali federal constitution is violated nor will the international community."
Other dignitaries addressed the first congress, including youth and women activists, as well as other representatives of civil society who have joined Horseed political association.
On Sept. 11, 2012, the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) declared for the first time since Puntland's inception in 1998 that political associations can be legally registered in Puntland. On Dec. 31, 2012, TPEC officials announced that six political associations have qualified in Puntland, namely Horseed, Midnimo, Wadajir, Hor-Cad, Puntland Democratic Party (PDP), and Puntland People's Party (UDAD).
Other political associations are expected to also hold their first congress in Garowe, Bossaso and Galkayo in the coming days. Local elections are slated to be held across Puntland districts in May 2013.