The decision, which the president says will help prepare for the 2023 election, could further destabilize the country.
The United States and the European Union have condemned the move, saying it would extend the term of Somalia’s president and members of parliament by two years, amid concerns that it could deepen divisions in the country.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he was “deeply disappointed” by the passage of the law on Tuesday.
“The passage of this bill will seriously hamper the dialogue and further damage peace and security in Somalia,” Blinken said in a statement.
“This will force the United States to re-evaluate our bilateral relations with the federal government of Somalia, to include diplomatic involvement and assistance, and to consider all available tools, including visa bans, in order to respond to efforts to undermine peace and stability,” he said.
The lower house of parliament voted on Monday Extending the four-year term of President Mohammad Abdullah Mohammed, Which ended in February for another two years.
In the lower house, Speaker Mohammad Mursal Sheikh Abdur Rahman said the move could prepare the country for direct elections, but the speaker in the upper house of the Senate, which usually has to approve the law, immediately condemned the move as unconstitutional.
Abdi Hasi Abdullahi warned, “This will lead the country to political instability, insecurity and other unpredictable situations.”
The presidents and leaders of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous federal states reached an agreement in September to prepare for indirect parliamentary and presidential elections in late 2020 and early 2021.
However, the agreement fell apart amid controversy over how to conduct the vote.
The political crisis threatens to deepen Somalia’s divisions and diverts attention from the fight against the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab, where thousands of civilians have died in the region in the past 12 years.
The African Union, the European Union, the United Nations and the regional bloc, Development of Intergovernmental Authority, said in a joint statement on Saturday that they would not support any extension of the president’s term.
After agreeing on the expansion, EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell warned of the threat to stability.
“The European Union believes that the passage and signing of this resolution would divide Somalia, impose additional delays and pose a serious threat to peace and stability in Somalia and its neighbors,” Borrell said in a statement.
“It certainly does not work in the interests of the Somali people,” he added.
The international community has called for immediate elections.
Somalia has had no effective central government since the fall of the Siad Bar military government in 1991, leading to decades of civil war and lawlessness over ethnic strife.
The country is currently governed by an interim constitution and institutions such as the military are backed up by international assistance.