Somali Leaders Approve New Constitution in Historic Vote

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Somalia’s National Constitutional Assembly has approved a Provisional Constitution in historic vote on Wednesday.

Reports say the approval of the new constitution is a key milestone towards ending the country’s current transitional period.

Delegates to the Somalia’s National Constituent Assembly is a 825-member constituent assembly, with delegates representing Somali clans and civil society.

The leaders reportedly debated the constitution for nine days and approved the constitution with 621 for, 13 against and 11 abstained from voting.

NCA
Delegates of the National Constituent Assembly of Somalia consult posted lists in the course of the Assembly’s work, to see which breakout groups they belong to. The break-out sessions held thematic discussions of the draft Provisional Constitution. UN Photo

At DC today, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton congratulates the members of the Somali National Constituent Assembly and the Somali people on historic vote to approve Somalia’s Provisional Constitution.

“By laying the foundations for a mutually agreed upon system of governance, this vote moves Somalia closer towards lasting stability.” -Ms. Clinton

She notes that the National Constituent Assembly represented the diverse concerns of the nation as it reviewed and ultimately approved the Provisional Constitution.

Despite significant logistical difficulties, political pressure, death threats, and two attacks on the National Constituent Assembly venue, this vote affirms that the Somali people will not be intimidated by violence as they work to rebuild their country, Ms. Clinton highlighted.

She says the people of the United States applaud the members of the National Constituent Assembly for their dedication and conviction.

The next step in Somalia’s political transition is for Somalia’s traditional elders to select a new parliament that will elect a speaker of parliament and president, Ms. Clinton noted.

The United States urges that these remaining tasks be completed quickly and transparently so that the transition ends on schedule, and Somalia is able to usher in a new era of governance that is more responsive, representative, and accountable.

“Our support for Somalia and the Somali people will continue beyond the end of the transition.” -Ms. Clinton

The US government stands with the people of Somalia on your path toward peace, stability, prosperity, she added.

Earlier this week, Somalia’s National constitution assembly (NCA) for the first time has convened on Wednesday in Mogadishu to adopt the new provisional constitution for war-torn Somalia.

The meeting was scheduled before final ratification of the constituion by a national referendum.

The National Constituent Assembly (NCA) is composed of 825 delegates chosen by traditional elders. The elders are reportedly representing all Somali clans.

Reports says the meeting at former police academy in Mogadishu was under AMISOM protection for nine days beginning today on Wednesday.

NCA is tasked with the adoption of the new constitution. In addition, the NCA is responsible for the selection of the new lawmakers of the next parliament of Somalia before August 20, 2012, the ending period of the current UN backed Transitional Federal Government.

The launch of the NCA is a key milestone in completing the political transition in Somalia.

The major next step is for Somalia’s traditional elders to select a new parliament that will in turn elect a speaker of parliament and president.

The United States has urged that these remaining tasks be completed quickly and transparently so that the transition ends on schedule August 20 and Somalia is able to usher in a new era of governance that is more responsive, representative, and accountable.

The United States is deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency that is occurring in parts of Somalia, the ongoing conflict and political instability within Somalia, and the escalating refugee crisis across the region.

The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa region, now providing over $750 million in life-saving assistance to those in need. This assistance has reached nearly 4.6 million people, many of whom would otherwise have died from starvation or related diseases.

The United States remains committed to breaking the cycle of hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa and to this end will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and call on others to join it in supporting the UN’s $1.5 billion 2012 Consolidated Appeal for Somalia.

Somalia has been in constant wars for past two past decades since the collapse of the Somali state in January 21, 1991. Millions of lives were lost and countless number of people had been internally displaced.

Somalia is the country worst affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.