Aydid opposed to presidential system

Mogadishu-based faction leader Husayn Aydid has called on the Somali delegates meeting in the Kenyan town of Eldoret not to set up a presidential system of government.

Aydid, who is the current chairman of the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) - a grouping of southern factions opposed to the Transitional National Government (TNG) - said there was so much mistrust between the various Somali groups that "it would be next to impossible to settle on one individual" as president.

"No-one would agree to give so much power to one individual, because there is no trust," he told IRIN on Wednesday.

Aydid warned that "any president elected by 300 people [the number of delegates in Eldoret] will not have much legitimacy at home". He said in this respect that earlier peace conferences should serve "as an example and warning".

In 1991, Ali Mahdi Muhammad was elected as president during peace talks in Djibouti, while the TNG was established in 2000 with Abdiqassim Salad Hassan as its president at the Arta conference in Djibouti, but neither succeeded in restoring peace "because of the question of legitimacy", Aydid pointed out.

Aydid said he favoured a parliamentary system of government "with ultimate power resting with it".

He recommended that a two-chamber parliament be set up with an upper house or state council consisting of all the leaders of the political groups in Somalia "where ultimate power will rest for the duration of the transition period". The state council would have a rotating chairman, he said. There should also be a lower house or a state assembly.

A regional analyst told IRIN that Aydid's proposal was "unrealistic" because it did not take into consideration the importance of clan balance to any peace deal. The analyst said any institution set up on the basis of faction leaders would specifically favour two clans and would not be seen as representative.

"The Hawiye and Darod clans have the largest number of factions and faction leaders, and any state council as proposed by Aydid will be dominated by them," he said. "I don't believe that other major clans, such as the Dir, Digil and Mirifle, and the minority clans will agree to such an arrangement."