Country Governance

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POGAR > Countries > Somalia In Brief

Basic Information

Country Flag:
Country Map: United Nations Maps: Somalia
Country Name: Somalia
Name of Capital City: Mogadishu
Date of Independence: British Somaliland became independent from Britain on June 26, 1960. Italian Somaliland became independent from the Italian-administered United Nations trusteeship on July 1, 1960.
The two united on June 26, 1960 to form the Somali Republic.

Administrative Divisions

Regions, Provinces or Governorates: 18 regions (gobolka): Awdal, Bakool, Banaadir, Bari, Bay, Galguduud, Gedo, Hiiraan, Jubbada Dhexe, Jubbada Hoose, Mudug, Nugaal, Sanaag, Shabeellaha Dhexe, Shabeellaha Hoose, Sool, Togdheer, Woqooyi Galbeed.
Country Area (sq km): 637700
Population (million): 8.7 (2007)
Population, annual growth rate (%) 1975-2005:
Population, estimated growth rate (%) 2005-2015:

Political System

Type of State: Republic/unitary
During the course of the peace conference held in Djibouti in 2000, plans were discussed to develop a federal state in Somalia; a transitional federal charter was adopted at talks in Kenya in 2003 and 2004.
Date of Constitution: The first constitution was adopted after independence in 1961 by popular referendum.
A second constitution was adopted in August 25, 1979 and was granted presidential approval on September 23, 1979.
After 10 years of negotiation, a transitional national charter was signed by the leaders of various Somali factions in Nairobi on September 15, 2003; some points of contention were resolved by an addendum on January 29, 2004.
Two regions of the country, Puntland and Somaliland, have declared their independence from Somalia. Neither has been formally recognized as a state.

Head of State

Type: The President is the head of the state. He is elected by the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament.
Name of Current: After returning to Somalia in December 2008, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed presented his candidacy to the Somali parliament which elected him President by 293 votes in the early hours of January 31, 2009. Ahmed was sworn in later in the day as the new President of Somalia.

Executive Branch

About: The president appoints the prime minister in consultation with the Transitional People’s Assembly.
Name of Current: On February 14, lawmakers approved Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as Prime Minister with a vote of 414 in favour, 9 opposed and 2 not voting succeeding Nour Hasan Husein.

Legislative Branch

Type: Unicameral interim parliament



- See Also: Somalia - Election Calendar and Results

Human Development Indicators

Human development index (HDI): N/A
HDI rank (worldwide): N/A
Adult literacy rate (% aged 15 and older): N/A
Female secondary gross enrollment (%): N/A
Gross enrollment, tertiary level education (%): N/A
Life expectancy at birth (years): 1.805 (2010)
Poverty index (HP1-1) value (%): N/A
GDP per capita (PPP US$): N/A
GDP per capita (PPP US$) rank minus HDI rank: N/A
* See more human development indicators on Arab Statistics (external link)

Judiciary Branch

Legal system and codification:
Supreme Court: In October 1996, a new Islamic judicial system was enacted with an Appellate Court. Judgments made in the local Islamic courts could be appealed to the Appellate Court, and no decision rendered in the Islamic courts could be enacted without Appellate Court ruling.
Constitutional Court:
Shari'a or Personal Status: In 1996, regions outside of Mogadishu reverted back to the traditions of Islamic law.
In August 1998, the Governor of the Banaadir administration declared that Shari’a legal principles would govern the judicial system in Mogadishu and its environs.

Membership in International Organizations

United Nations (UN): September 20, 1960
International Monetary Fund (IMF): August 31, 1962
World Trade Organization (WTO): Not a member
Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC): Not signed
World Bank – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): August 31, 1962
World Bank – International Finance Corporation (IFC): August 31, 1962
World Bank – Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA): Not a member
World Bank – International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID): March 30, 1968

Ratification of International Conventions

- Human Rights Conventions
- International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions
- UN Conventions against Corruption and Transnational Organized Crime
- Environment Treaties