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Somalia

Monthly Event Reports

December 2023 | Puntland state reverses plan to establish universal suffrage

In December, the semi-autonomous state of Puntland abandoned a plan to move from a clan-based electoral system to one with universal suffrage. State President Said Abdullahi Deni’s original announcement of the move to universal suffrage in May was met with protests from opposition politicians and a brief period of violence in which at least 26 people died. Since the plan has been abandoned, the parliament remains selected by the leaders of clans across the state, while the state president is elected by the parliament. A new state parliament was sworn in on 1 January 2024, and President Deni was re-elected by the state parliament on 8 January 2024.

August 2023 | Somalia bans social media platforms TikTok and Telegram

On 20 August, Somalia’s government issued an order indefinitely banning popular social media platforms TikTok and Telegram, alongside an online betting app 1xBet. The order, which came into effect on 24 August, cited concerns about the use of the platforms by terrorists (the al-Shabab militant group regularly uses Telegram’s messaging service to publish its videos press releases) and ‘groups spreading immorality’. As part of its ‘total war’ against al-Shabab, the government has recently tightened restrictions on traditional media and was reported to have shut down dozens of social media accounts, but this is the first time it has cut off access to social media platforms. Rights groups have stated that total bans on social media platforms represent disproportionate restrictions on freedom of expression and breach international human rights standards. 

June 2023 | Fighting erupts in Puntland as parliament debates electoral changes
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At least 26 people were reported to have died in fighting that erupted on 20 June in Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland, as its parliament debated constitutional changes intended to further the state’s ongoing transition to direct elections. Up until May 2023, when it held its first direct local elections, Puntland had used an indirect, clan-based electoral system. The fighting was between the state’s security forces and fighters loyal to the political opposition, who accuse Puntland’s President Said Abdullahi of using electoral reform to hold onto power. Such mistrust between the political elite has hindered the state’s long-delayed transition to universal suffrage, and analysts believe that it could impede progress towards holding direct elections for Puntland’s state parliament and presidency and for federal offices.

May 2023 | First state-wide direct elections held in Puntland
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On 25 May, voters in the Somalian state of Puntland went to the polls to elect their district councils, in what were the first state-wide direct elections since Puntland’s establishment in 1998 (direct local elections were held in three of Puntland’s districts in 2021). Like much of Somalia, Puntland has used an indirect, clan-based electoral system to select its political representatives. Media reports suggested that voting took place peacefully, notwithstanding the security concerns that led to the postponement of polling in three districts. These concerns arose from a dispute between Puntland’s President Said Abdullahi Deni and members of the political opposition, who accused him of manipulating the elections. Of the seven political parties that participated, the ruling Kaah party won the largest number of seats (286 out of 774). Seventeen per cent of seats were won by female candidates, down from the 26 per cent of women who won seats in the 2021 local elections.

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GSoD Indices Data 2013-2022

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
16 359 500
System of government
Parliamentary system
Head of government
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre (since 2022)
Head of government party
Union for Peace and Development Party (UPD)
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
No direct elections
Women in lower or single chamber
19.7%
Women in upper chamber
25.9%
Last legislative election
2022
Head of state
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
06/05/2021
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
90.11%
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
No Action
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
State Party
International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
No Action
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
No Action
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
State Party
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
State Party
Equal Remuneration Convention
No Action
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
State Party
Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
No Action
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
State Party
Regional Treaties
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
State Party
Arab Charter on Human Rights
No Action
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Performance by category over the last 6 months

Representation neutral Representation
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Mar 2024
Representation neutral Rights
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Representation neutral Rule of law
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Representation neutral Participation
Oct 2023
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Mar 2024

Global State of Democracy Indices

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Explore the indices
Representation
Representation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rights
Rights
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rule of Law
Rule of Law
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Participation
Participation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4

Factors of Democratic Performance Over Time

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