In 1960, after several decades of colonial rule, Britain gave independence to the British Somaliland, Italy gave independence to the Italian Somaliland, and France gave independence to the French Somaliland. The British and Italian Somaliland regions joined together to form the country of Somalia while the French Somaliland became Djibouti (5). The clans now had the responsibility of organizing a government for the two regions uniting as Somalia. The new country implemented a system of parliamentary democracy in which freedom of expression was a key element. The government was to consist of a president as head of state and a Prime Minister who had full executive powers. The Prime Minister would answer to an elected National Assembly of 123 members representing the two former colonies (6). The new government, in which Somali traditions were combined with western governmental practices, offered political and legal equality to all Somalis,
In 1967, Abdirashiid Ali Shermaarke was elected as president. He nominated Muhammad Abraham Igaal, of the SYL, as Prime Minister. The SYL had clearly become the dominant political party of Somalia. Some people who were discontent with the results of recent elections began to make charges of election fraud (11).
It was found that Prime Minister Igaal had stolen over five million dollars from the national treasury in order to buy votes. By 1969, the SYL had control of 120 of the 123 seats in the National Assembly (12). Somalia, just nine years after gaining independence from colonial powers, had become a corrupt one-party state.