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Government and policies of Somalia

Politics was at once the Somalis' most practiced art and favorite sport. The most desired possession of most nomads was a radio, which was used to keep informed on political news. The level of political participation often surpassed that in many Western democracies.

Politics was viewed as a realm not limited to one profession, clan, or class, but open to all male members of society. Although an interim government was created in 2004, other regional and local governing bodies continue to exist and control various regions of the country, including the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia and the semi-autonomous State of Puntland in northeastern Somalia.

Many other small political organisations exist, some clan-based, others seeking a Somalia free from clan-based politics. Many of them have come into existence since the civil war. The political situation therefore remains unstable; for example, on September 18, 2006, Abdullah Yusuf barely survived a suicide attack on his convoy in Baidoa, although twelve other people were killed.

In the northeast Puntland also remains autonomous but supports the Transitional Government and unlike Somaliland considers itself still within the Somali Republic.

Sanaag Region and some parts of Bari region there is newly declared state of Maakhir which is a self-proclaimed autonomous state within Somalia on an area disputed by Somaliland and Puntland. Declared in July 1, 2007, it remains unrecognized by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.

In the southwestern interior, Jubaland and Southwestern Somalia have both recognised the TFG and local leaders are part of the government.

The southern half of the country, with the bulk of the population, as of November 2007, is unstable, following the 2006 Civil War between the Transitional Government and the Islamic Courts Union.

Government Structure

Country nominally under interim provisional government established by Executive Committee of United Somali Congress (USC) and headed by provisional president Ali Mahdi Mahammad after fall of Mahammad Siad Barre.

Administrative Divisions

Prior to fall of Siad Barre regime in January 1991, sixteen administrative regions, each containing three to six districts, with exception of capital region which was subdivided into fifteen districts, for total of eighty-four districts. Local government authority vested in regional and district councils whose members were elected, but whose candidature approved by district-level government. High level of military participation in regional and district councils. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development exercised authority over structure of local government. From 1991 onward, no effective government organization existed.

Major Political leaders Chief of State: Transitional Federal President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed (since 14 October 2004). He is a a former leader of the semi-autonomous Somali region of Puntland, was chosen by Somalia 's interim parliament as president of the Transitional Federal Government in October 2004. The election took place in Kenya because the Somali capital was regarded as being too dangerous.

Head of Government: Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein. He is also known as Nur Adde, was sworn in as prime minister on 24 November 2007. He replaced Ali Mohamed Ghedi, who resigned in October. His predecessor had refused to negotiate with Islamists and other government opponents.

Major political parties

SYL(Somali Youth League), SNL(Somali National League), SRSP(Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party), USC-SSA(United Somali Congress-Somali Salvation Alliance), USC-SNA(United Somali Congress-Somali National Alliance ), SDM(Somali Democratic Movement), SSDF(Somali Salvation Democratic Front), SPM(Somali Patriotic Movement).

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