Somalia to Hold Elections Within Months

Somali clan delegates to elect members of parliament in 60 days. (Photo Credit: Villa Somalia.)

Somali political leaders have agreed to hold elections within 60 days. The agreement signed Thursday puts an end to months of political bickering over the electoral model and averts violence.

The deal was signed by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, five regional states and the Mogadishu mayor.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Roble said his government would implement the agreement.

“My government is reassuring to the country’s political stakeholders and to the Somali people that my government will hold free and fair indirect elections in line with this agreement,” Roble said following four days of talks in Mogadishu.

The United Nations Secretary-General welcomed the agreement and urged all stakeholders to swiftly implement the agreement as a critical step towards holding a consensual and transparent electoral process without further delays.

“The Secretary-General reiterates the importance of dialogue and consensus to resolve any issues that may arise during implementation, and calls for the swift establishment of credible election management bodies at the federal and state levels to conduct the process,” said Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

The indirect parliamentary vote will take place at a regional level where 101 clan delegates will appoint members of parliament. The 275 and 54 from the senate then elect the president.

For months, the Somali central government and leaders of five federal member states disagreed on how to conduct the vote before the president’s term ended in February.

In April, the parliament extended president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo’s term to two years. After internal and external pressure, the lower house reversed the decision.

The disagreements over the election and term extension led to arm clashes in Mogadishu between soldiers loyal to the opposition groups and government forces.

Lawmaker Amina Mohamed hopes the election will be free from interference from central and regional government leaders.

“Competition is good, but it should not be manipulated by those tasked to organize the election. We do not want anyone to be favored and we want assurance that the ground will level for any candidate,” said Mohammed.