Somalia Assembly passes draft constitution
The 825 NCA members who debated the constitution for a week approved the document with 621 for, 13 against and 11 abstentions.
The constitution, some eight years in the making, makes it clear that Islamic law is the basis for Somalia’s legal foundation. No religion other than Islam can be propagated in the country and all laws must be compliant with Shariah – Islamic law.
The constitution protects the right to an abortion to save the life of the mother and bans the circumcision of girls, a common practice in Somalia that opponents call female genital mutilation.
Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said the vote by the NCA means that Somalia has ended its period of transitional government. The U.N. mandate for Somalia’s current government — the Transitional Federal Government, or TFG — expires on Aug. 20. Somali leaders were tasked with voting on the constitution, voting in a new 275-member parliament, and electing a president before then.
“This is an historic day – today we have witnessed the completion of a task that has been worked on for the last eight years,” said Constitutional Affairs Minister Abdirahman Hosh Jabril.
The interim parliament must back the document before it takes effect.
A new group of MPs will then be selected, who will in turn choose a new president.