Somalia has been a federal state since 2012, with a
central government and several autonomous states.
During the civil war of the 1990s, after the regime of
President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, and well into
the 2000s, Somlia was a country without a functioning state.
Power struggles led rival groups to control different parts
of the country and respective parts of the capital
Mogadishu. The militia groups were dominated by clans, which
thus consolidated their influence in the respective regions.
The area which, before independence in 1960, constituted
the British protectorate, Somaliland, broke out of the
Somalia state formation in 1991, declaring its independence,
which has not been internationally recognized. In 1998, the
province of Puntland declared independence, but without
seeking recognition as an independent state, with the aim of
contributing to the development of a united, federative
Constitution and political system
Until 1991, Somalia was a unified state, authoritatively
governed republic. Subsequently, Somalia long lacked an
effective central authority. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how SO can stand for Somalia.
Following a conference in Djibouti in 2000, a
Transitional National Government (TNG) was established.
Following a subsequent peace process, the country was
granted a temporary constitution in 2004, and a temporary
national assembly of 275 members was appointed. It consisted
of 61 members from each of the four largest clans as well as
31 other members. In 2004, it elected a transitional
president for five years. A Transitional Federal Government
(TFG) was also established in 2004. This re-established
several national institutions, including a national defense.
TFG was Somalia's internationally recognized government
until 2012, when a new constitution was passed, and a new
national assembly and government took over the governance of
the country. The new National Assembly was inaugurated on
August 12, 2012. With the new constitution, Somalia is a
federal state, with several states having internal autonomy.
The establishment of the states, with their governance
structures, has been gradual. As of 2018, there were six
states: Galmudug, Hishabelle, Jubaland, Puntland, Somaliland
and southwest Somalia.
The Mogadishu Federal National Assembly consists of two
chambers; a Senate (Upper House) with 54 members and a
People's Assembly (Lower House) with 275 representatives.
The Constitution provides that 30 per cent of the members of
parliament should be women.
Somalia's head of state is the president, who is elected
by the National Assembly. The president appoints the prime
minister, who must be approved in parliament.
Somalia was previously divided into 18 provinces. With
the introduction of a federal structure from 2012, the
country is divided into states, which in turn are divided
into administrative regions and then districts.
The Constitution provides that the judiciary is
independent of the legislative and executive power
(parliament and government). The judicial structure consists
of a constitutional law (Supreme Court), federal (state)
courts and state-level courts.
The Somali judiciary is based on Islamic law.
After the political upheaval in Somalia in 1991, and the
state's real disintegration, the national armed forces
disbanded. Various clans and their militia forces then
fought for power. These include from the mid-2000s the
Islamist group al-Shabaab, affiliated with al-Qaeda. The
outbreak states Somaliland and Puntland established their
own military forces.
A peacekeeping force deployed by the African Union, the
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), has since 2007
helped to fight al-Shabaab and facilitate the reconstruction
of a national defense. With a new constitution from 2012,
Somalia is a federal state with a central government working
to establish new state functions, including a national
defense, the Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF). Several
countries have contributed to training Somali forces,
including the United Arab Emirates (FAE), Djibouti, Egypt,
Qatar, Sudan and Turkey. UK and US has also contributed; so
has the EU, with a training program that first started in
Uganda and continued in Somalia: European Union Training
Mission Somalia. The FAE has promoted its regional ambitions
by building its own base in Berbera, Somaliland, contrary to
the wishes of the Somali government.
The total number of government forces is 19,800 active
personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, a militia is to be
integrated into the army. Somaliland has a total force of
about 12,500 active personnel, and Puntland about 3000
active personnel. In 2018, AMISOM had a force of about
21,500 soldiers in Somalia.
After independence in 1960, Somalia built up one of the
strongest defense forces in Africa. The build-up continued
after the defeat of the Ogaden War in 1977–1978, and in the
mid-1980s was close to 125,000.