Somali Government, Elders Agree on New Constitution

Posted July 15th, 2012 at 3:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The Somali government says it has reached an agreement with traditional elders to move ahead with plans to adopt a draft constitution.

A government minister told VOA that a Constituent Assembly will provisionally adopt the measure during an 8-day conference that begins on Saturday.

Constitution and Reconciliation Minister Abdirahman Hosh Jibril said leaders set the date during a meeting Sunday.

The 825-member assembly was to meet earlier this month. But the gathering was delayed after some elders called for changes in the measure, including the addition of wording that affirms Mogadishu as Somalia's capital.

Officials said some elders also have taken issue with a provision allowing women to run for high office.

The Constituent Assembly – which includes a broad range of political factions – is charged with selecting parliament members.

Government officials said parliament will aim to select a new president by an August 20 deadline.

The United Nation-backed “roadmap” for Somalia calls for ushering in a permanent government.

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government was established in 2004, but has been unable to assert power because of chronic infighting and the chaos in the country.