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Somalia said to be in Constitutional Crisis

A government soldier runs for cover during heavy clashes in northern Mogadishu, 11 Mar 2010, in a second day of intense fighting between Somali government troops and insurgent forces

The escalating political struggle in Somalia will embolden hard-line Islamic insurgents, including al-Shabab, to launch fresh attacks to overthrow President Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s government, said political analyst Ali Abdullahi.

He described the ongoing Somali political power struggle as a constitutional crisis that needs immediate resolution.

“Of course it will. What you have in Somalia right now is we have a constitutional crisis that has emanated from the charter of 2004, which was not refined…what has happened is we have a power struggle that has boiled down to a constitutional crisis,” he said.

Legislators, supporting Prime Minister Omar Abdelrashid Ali Sharmarke, announced the removal of the speaker of parliament shortly after he asked the Somali president to form a new government following a vote of no-confidence.

In accordance with the Somali national charter, supporters of the prime minister named Haji Shukri Sheikh Ahmed as interim speaker of parliament replacing Sheik Aden Madobe.

But, analyst Abdullahi said the power struggle will encourage more insurgent attacks.

“As the way things are, this is going to assist the insurgents in such a way that, whenever you have a power struggle, then, the insurgents become more powerful,” Abdullahi said.

President Ahmed’s Transitional Federal Government has been battling almost-daily with hard-line Islamic insurgents who have vowed to overthrow the administration to implement the strictest form of the Sharia Law.

Abdullahi said the “untouched” Somali national charter is to blame for the power struggle.

“The charter has not been refined at all, (and) the charter is vague on a number of issues. Right now, who has the power to convene parliament? It is the speaker of parliament. And, what he has done was to call his troops who are the parliamentarians and he has said, ‘Gentlemen, what is the agenda on the table?’ And, the agenda on the table was how efficient has the government been and they voted it (government) out, and the prime minister is out,” Abdullahi said.

He also said deep rifts exist between President Ahmed and Prime Minister Sharmarke, as well as deposed speaker of parliament Madobe.