Somalia Table of Contents
Although the Siad Barre government suspended the National Assembly following the 1969 coup, a decade later it created a new single-chamber legislature, the People's Assembly. The constitution of 1979 stipulated that the People's Assembly have 177 members, including 6 members appointed by the president and 171 chosen by popular election. By contrast, the precoup National Assembly had only 123 members. Members of the People's Assembly served a five-year term. Two such assemblies were elected, one in 1979 and another in 1984. The elections scheduled for 1989 were postponed as a result of the civil strife that by then had engulfed most of the country.
Critics and opponents of the regime were not permitted to run in either the 1979 or the 1984 election. Instead, the government drew up lists of candidates, all of whom were members of the only legally permitted party (the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party--SRSP), and submitted the entire lists for voter approval. In both instances, the government announced that more than 99 percent of the electorate had approved the official lists. The People's Assembly also did not truly debate any legislation. It met for several days each year and ratified whatever laws the executive had decided to submit for its "approval."
The People's Assembly was not in session when the Siad Barre government was toppled. The provisional government announced its intention to hold elections for a new legislature, but as of the spring of 1992 the continuing political disturbances in the country had prevented the formulation of definite plans for such elections.