Somalia. On May 2, around 400 Somalis gathered in
Djibouti for a peace conference led by Djibouti President
Ismail Umar Guelleh. The UN, the Arab League and other
international organizations also supported the conference.
Here, clans who considered each other as enemies since the
state collapsed in 1991. In August, the conference appointed
a provisional parliament, which elected former Interior
Minister Abdulkassim Salat Hassan as new president. He
appointed prime minister the business manager and former
Industry Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh.
COUNTRYAAH, at least 50,000 people met the new president when he came
to Mogadishu shortly after the appointment. The Islamic
courts and businessmen supported Salat, but the leaders of
the clan militia, who now saw their power threatened,
refused to acknowledge him. The self-proclaimed Republic of
Somaliland in the northwest and the Puntland region in the
northeast also distanced themselves from the new state
But the new administration provisionally installed itself
in a hotel in Mogadishu, surrounded itself with bodyguards
paid by the business community and tried to build a new,
neutral police force and army. A budget was presented, which
was expected to be financed by the Arab League, the UN and
Two murders showed that the militia leaders were serious
about their threats. A former general engaged by the new
administration to lead the disarmament of private militia
was shot dead in October, and in November a member of the
new parliament was assassinated.
Somaliland has a parliament with two chambers: a
people-elected House of Representatives with 82 members and
an elder council, guurti, with the same number of members,
who are responsible for laws on religion, traditions and
security. The members of the guurti are appointed by the
clans. According to the constitution, elections must be
conducted every six years, but this has not happened.
The president is elected in general elections for a term
of five years. They can be re-elected. Members of the House
of Representatives are also to be elected directly by the
people for five years, but no elections have been held since
2010. According to the latest bid, elections must be held no
later than November 2019. The intention is that the members
of the House of Commons should be elected in indirect
elections, but disagreement prevails over the forms. For the
time being, the members appointed in 1997 remain on their
posts. In the event that someone has died, or passed away,
that member has been replaced by a relative.
The constitution guarantees freedom of assembly.
Only three parties are allowed to stand in the
presidential and parliamentary elections. The parties
allowed to participate depend on the results they have
achieved in the local elections. They are today the Peace,
Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye), Justice and
Development Party (Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka, Ucid)
and the Waddani Party.
There are no major ideological differences between the
parties, but it is mostly about different clans supporting
different parties. The rules favor the parties that were
independent and have made it difficult for new parties to
gain any influence. The ruling party Kulmiye is dominated by
issaq's subclans habar awal and habar jeclo. Although women
formally have the same rights as men, they have limited
influence over politics. Two women sat in the House of
Representatives in 2017, but only one in the elderly house.
The latter was appointed after her husband left the
congregation. In 2017, two of 24 ministers were women.
Freedom of speech is limited and those who criticize the
government risk being punished for it.
Conflict with Puntland on Sool and Sanaag
Somaliland has a border conflict with Puntland over the
Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions. It has on several occasions
led to armed confrontations. In 2012, the leaders of these
regions announced a new "state", Khaatumo, which wants
autonomy within Somalia.
The judiciary must be independent and no laws may
conflict with Islamic Sharia law. The legal system is a
mixture of formal legislation, Sharia law and customary law.
But in practice, the government often interferes with the
work of the courts, especially in cases involving
journalists, and it is common for the judicial process to be
settled outside the formal system. There is a great shortage
of trained judges in Somaliland.
Limited international contacts
Somaliland's hopes for international recognition were
strengthened when Sudan was divided in 2011 and the new
state of South Sudan was formed. The issue is central, not
least because Somaliland cannot receive any more substantial
financial support from the outside world before being
recognized as an independent state. However, assistance
comes from, among others, the UK, Denmark and the EU.
Ethiopia is the country with which Somaliland has its
closest relations and the most vibrant trade exchange.
Somaliland has offices in South Africa, Ethiopia and
Ghana which in practice act as embassies. The EU and Sweden
treat Somaliland as "an autonomous region". In 2005,
Somaliland applied for membership in the African Union (AU),
but was rejected because the organization wants to respect
the borders that prevailed when Somalia became independent.
The Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC), the Arab League
and the UN have also opposed changing borders.
In practice, Somaliland has regular contacts with a
number of countries, including Sweden. The relationship with
Djibouti has been both good and strenuous.
Cool between Hargeisa and Mogadishu
Somaliland and the government of Mogadishu have had a
chilly relationship and have no formal contacts, as the
latter opposes a division of Somalia. The same attitude has
the militant Islamist group al-Shabaab controlling parts of
Since 2012, however, with international mediation, there
has been a dialogue between the governments of Hargeisa and
Mogadishu. In 2013, the two presidents of Turkey met and
agreed on the need for cooperation against, among other
things, terrorism, piracy, illegal fishing and dumping of
toxic waste. Somalia also promised to facilitate Somaliland
better access to international support.
Somaliland has in the 2010 century made closer contacts
with the United Arab Emirates. Among other things, they have
signed an agreement on the port of Berbera (see below). The
Gulf state will also build a military base in Somaliland and
has promised to train Somali defense forces and police
forces, which has been heavily criticized by the Mogadishu
Limited freedom of the press
Freedom of the press and expression is guaranteed in the
constitution, but in practice the freedom of the media is
cut. Journalists from independent media have been arrested
and sentenced to prison, but other forms of harassment also
occur. The authorities have in recent years blocked several
websites and accused them of spreading "fake news". In 2018,
two private TV channels were closed following allegations of
lack of neutrality in their reporting from the disputed Sool
region. There are several daily and weekly newspapers, of
which one is state. It is in the private newspapers that
some criticism of the government can be published. They are
often financed by Somalis abroad. But all the magazines are
small. British BBC radio broadcasts on Somali reach numerous