Somaliland lawmakers vote to extend president's term by two years

FILE PHOTO: Muse Bihi Abdi of Somaliland speaks during a news conference in 2018
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By Abdiqani Hassani

BOSASO, Somalia (Reuters) - Lawmakers in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland have extended President Muse Bihi Abdi's current term of office by two years ahead of its expiry in November, the senate chairman said on Saturday.

The region's electoral body said last month it had postponed a presidential election due in November to 2023 because of time and financial constraints, among other reasons.

It was unclear whether that poll has now been scrapped.

Saleeban Mahmoud Aden, Somalialand's senate chairman, said 72 members of parliament voted on Saturday to extend Abdi's term by a "two-year period." One MP objected.

In August, deadly protests by opposition supporters broke out in the region with demonstrators demanding elections be held in November amid suspicions the president wanted to delay the poll and extend his term.

There was no immediate reaction from the opposition to the parliament's extension of the president's term.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 but has not gained widespread international recognition for its independence. The region has been mostly peaceful while Somalia has grappled with three decades of civil war.

(Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Mike Harrison)