Somalia has not had a viable central administration since the former president Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. In 2000, however, a Transitional People’s Assembly (TPA) resulted from a peace conference held at Arta, in Djibouti. The TPA had 245 members, appointed by clan chiefs for a three year-term of office. 25 seats of the parliament were assigned to women. Many of the nominated members were from the Somali Diaspora. A subsequent agreement in Nairobi, Kenya early in 2004 established a new body, the Transitional Federal Parliament, to carry on the work of the TPA. The parliament has 275 members appointed at the sub-clan level throughout Somalia. It will serve for a transitional period of five years beginning in mid 2004. 12 percent of its members are women. 61 members are appointed by each of the four major clans, and the remaining clans collectively selected the remaining 31 members.
The parliament elects the president of the republic, who is sworn in before five regional presidents. The president then appoints a prime minister and a cabinet, with the approval of parliament. In 2000 the TPA elected Abdiqasim Salad Hassan as president and Abdallah Derow Isaq as speaker of the House. The parliament formed in 2004 maintained the same procedures and elected Abdallah Youssef Ahmad as president and Sharif Hassan Shaikh Adam as speaker.
Under the interim constitution the TPA also has the right to take votes of confidence in the ministers. On October 29, 2001 it exercised its prerogative by voting to withdraw its confidence in the Transitional National Government. The prime minister resigned, stating, “I would like to seize this opportunity to state that I respect the decision of the Transitional People’s Assembly and will fully abide by it. I call upon the members of my cabinet and the rest of my colleagues to also comply with this decision. This decision is indicative of a working democracy and is a reflection of Somalia's determination to move towards democratic governance as stipulated by the interim constitution approved at Arta peace conference in Djibouti.” Another vote of confidence was taken to remove the current prime minister late in 2003, but it was ignored because the vote was taken without a quorum.
Legislative Drafting Processes
The Transitional Federal Parliament’s other main function is to ratify the laws submitted to it by the executive branch.
The TPA was supported by some factions in the country, but the powerful Somali Reconstruction and Reconciliation Council (SRRC) and the administration of Puntland denied its legitimacy. The government, the SRRC and Puntland have all signed the agreement on the new parliament, though disputes continue over the clan-based allocation of its seats, and some factions oppose the new parliament as well.
The Transitional Federal Parliament is a member of both the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU).