Somali Foreign Minister says Agreement Reached on Elections

Somali foreign minister Mohamed Abdirizak address the U.N. Security Council on May 25, 2021. (Photo: Screenshot)

Somalia’s foreign minister told the United Nations Security Council Tuesday that an agreement has been reached between the central government and federal member states paving the way for parliamentary and presidential elections.

Mohamed Abdirizak said the three key outstanding issues were discussed and agreed in principle.

The three issues that have delayed the election arrangements were the election arrangement of Gedo region, the selection of Somaliland representatives, and the election committees appointment.

The Foreign Minister said breaking the electoral impasse has been hard.

“The negotiation process has not been easy, and this demonstrates how vital consensus remains, and without consensus how fragile peace in Somalia is, and how fragile our institutions of government remain,” Abdirizak said. “However, we have now reached an agreement that will lead Somalia to free elections, fairer elections. Going forward, Somalia needs predictable political transition based on elections that are inclusive, credible, free and fair,” Abdirizak said.

Somali leaders led by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, five other regional leaders and the Mogadishu mayor were in a meeting since Saturday to break the political deadlock that has been ongoing since the signing of the election agreement in September 2020.

Somalia’s current government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo’s term ended in February but wrangling the electoral model delayed the elections.

U.N. special envoy James Swan, who also spoke to the council, welcomed the positive news that Somali leaders have agreed to conduct an election.

Swan called on Somali leaders to hold elections so that the country can move forward.

“The signatories of the 17 September Agreement must now commit to a clear way forward with the holding of elections. Without this, progress on key national priorities will continue to be hampered, or worse, reversed, in critical areas, including in the security, economic and development sectors,” Swan said.

On April 25, Somali soldiers loyal to the opposition groups and government forces engaged in a gun battle in Mogadishu. The armed skirmishes erupted after the parliament extended the president’s mandate for two years. The parliament revised a decision after internal and external pressure.

The Foreign Minister said a communiqué detailing the agreement would be issued at the closing ceremony Thursday.