Tiny unknown nation threatening to rebel against home country and declare independence

A little almost unknown already semi-autonomous state has shunned changes proposed by its wider country of Somalia.

Puntland now says that it will hold a referendum on whether to accept the African country’s changes to its constitution – including a return to universal suffrage, which is the right for almost all adults to cast a vote in elections.

The council of ministers of Puntland said in a statement: “The Puntland administration revoked its recognition and confidence in the federal government institutions until an outright constitutional process that is mutually accepted is obtained.”

It added: “Puntland will have its own comprehensive government authority until a federal government system is in place, with a mutually accepted Somali constitution that is subject to a public referendum,” reports Reuters.

The Somali government says the amendments are crucial so it can establish a more stable political system.

At the moment Somalia operates a complex clan-based indirect voting system that has been in place for more than half a century. But the system has been hijacked by militant groups like al-Shabab.

There has been a one-person, one-vote election system in years gone by but it was scrapped when dictator Siad Barre seized power in 1969.

The new constitution will mean a president can be directly elected – and will allow the president to appoint a prime minister without parliamentary approval.

However, Puntland has accused the President of Somalia – Hassan Sheikh Mohamud – of violating the constitution and therefore losing his legitimacy.

The northeastern state was one of several that did not participate in the talks to reform the constitution and its president Said Abdullahi Deni did not sign it.

Puntland’s leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998. In May last year Puntland tried a direct election during local council elections but has now returned to the clan-based ballot system.

The troubles with Puntland aren’t the only issue Somalia is facing.

In January pirates operating from the country appeared to be taking advantage of the redeployment of Western forces to combat the Houthis in the Red Sea.

The resurgence in Somalia pirate activity has sparked alarm amid reports of an alliance with the powerful Islamist terror group Al-Shabaab.

Al Shabab militants in Somaliland’s Sanaag region are alleged to make a deal with pirates with the terrorists protecting the pirate group in exchange for a 30 percent share of the ransom earnings.

SOURCE

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