Somalia – The Independent Somali Republic

By | December 15, 2021

The territory of the Republic, created on 1 July 1960, is administratively divided into eight regions, six in the ex-Somalia and two (West Region and Eastern Region) in ex-Somaliland.

The institution of the new state is established in the Act of Union (formally approved by the National Assembly on January 18, 1961 and promulgated by the provisional president of the Republic on the 31st of the same month), with retroactive effect from July 1, 1960. Official events that prepared the union of the two territories in a single state are: the motion addressed to the UN, voted by the Legislative Assembly of the former Somalia in “fiduciary” administration on March 28, 1960; the motion of the Legislative Council of ex-Somaliland of the following 6 April, asking the British government for the independence of the territory and union with the ex-Somalia by 1 July 1960; the work in Mogadishu of the commissions of the ex-S. and ex-Somaliland (following April 16-24), in which the ways of forming the new state were agreed; the agreement of the British government, in the following May (12), for the granting of independence to the ex-Protectorate, which was set for June 26; finally, the conversations, which began on the following 2 June, between the government delegations of the former Somalia and ex-Somaliland.

The Act of Union establishes that the state takes the name of the Somali Republic; that the capital is Mogadishu; that the legislative power is exercised by a National Assembly, that the government must be formed by the majority parties (ie League of Young Somalis, Somali National League, United Somali Party); that the army of the Republic is formed by the union of the national army of the ex-S. and the “Scouts” of ex-Somaliland, and in the same way the police force is composed. The Act also provides that all laws and institutions and related regulations, rights and obligations legitimately established and not in conflict with the constitution, already in force in the two territories before the creation of the new state, continue to have full force.

The constitution of the Republic, to which the Act also expressly refers, is that of the former Somalia; subjected to a referendum on June 20, 1961, it was accepted with a large majority of votes (many of the former Somaliland votes were against). For Somalia 2018, please check

The constitution defines the Somali state as a unitary representative democratic republic. At the head is the president, appointed by the National Assembly, which is elected by universal suffrage and exercises the legislative function. Executive power is entrusted to ministers appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister. State religion is Islam.

Once the institutional structures of the new state had been created, the concrete union of the two territorial political entities united in the new organization remained to be accomplished.

Understandably, the state system of the former Somalia necessarily constituted, at least for the initial period, the predominant part of the organization of the highest administration of the Republic.

In October 1960 a permanent consultative commission was established by the Somali government with the task of proceeding with the unification of the legislation and institutions of the public administration of the two former territories forming the Republic. The task from the outset seemed extremely complex and difficult. However, the army, the police, telecommunications, the direction of monetary policy and the exercise of credit were subjected to a more urgent unification, to which the Somali National Bank, created by decree of the administration of the former -Somaly of 30 June 1960 and entered into activity on the following 4 July. In July 1961 the new currency was introduced, the “Somali shilling”; from 1 January 1961 it was also decided to form a single budget for the whole Republic.

Subjective reasons, of a moral nature, contribute to making the slow process of union and unification difficult. Apart from the disparity in education and culture of the more advanced elements of the two former Somali territories, the northern regions feel very distant, and rather foreign, the center of government, which, largely located in the south, conveys and absorbs the greater movement of political life; a fact aggravated by the existence of very strong tribal sentiments, which create disagreements and coalitions between the Somali groups in the south and those in the north. In addition, in the bureaucratic work, the lack of an official written language is currently used, with equal freedom and validity, the Italian language (in the former Somalia), English (above all by those who belong to the former -Somaliland) and Arabic.

The productive development of the state, on the other hand. finds a very heavy obstacle in the absolute lack of economic resources (the budget of 1961, mentioned above, provided for a deficit of 62 million Somalis). Hence the urgent need for foreign financial contributions. Italy already established, on 1 July 1960, with the then-born republic a commercial agreement for payments and economic cooperation, regulating commercial exchanges and contemplating the participation of Italian capital in the economic development of Somalia (also ensuring the continuity of the purchase of a certain quantity of local banana production). With the economic commitments, Italy would have provided Somalia with assistance for administrative and technical assistance and for financial assistance (for the first year ITL 1,534 million, to which another 1,700 million must be added to balance the 1960 budget; for the following years the contribution would be gradually reduced, up to 1970). For Somaliland, England had undertaken, with the agreement of May 1960, to grant financial aid after independence, subsequently decreasing with the passing of the years (for the first year the contribution was set at 1,500 pounds sterling. 000, of which half was to be spent on local development activities). But such aids are insufficient, given the great need for resources of the new state, which hastened to conclude agreements also with other foreign states (Egypt, USA, USSR, Czechoslovakia, Germany, etc.) to obtain technical personnel, raw materials, products, cash loans.

The political parties of ex-Somaliland have moved their headquarters to Mogadishu (Somali National League, United Somali Party, National United Front, to which the Somali Socialist Party has joined). Attitude of aggressive opposition to the incumbent government and the political majority in power continues to have the Great Somalia League.

The Republic was admitted to join the UN on 20 September 1960. Diplomatic relations were established with many nations, and first with Italy. The contrasts with Ethiopia remain quite lively, above all due to the unsolved question of the borders with the former Somalia and of the grazing rights in the border area of ​​ex-Somaliland and, then, of the repeated declarations (still in August 1961) of the men of government of the Republic that reaffirm the program for the unification of all Somalis into a single state.

The Independent Somali Republic