International partners on Thursday reaffirmed the importance of timely and effective preparations of the 2020/21 elections in Somalia.
The partners including the Africa Union (AU), United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and the U.S., among others, called on government and stakeholders to ensure that the future election model should respect the Constitution and ensure that the elections are held on time in late 2020/early 2021, without extension of the terms of the Executive or Parliament.
“The partners will continue to provide support to the electoral process and stand ready to offer technical expertise to the relevant Somali authorities as they devise a credible and implementable electoral model,” they said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu.
The partners also urged the Somali stakeholders to ensure fair representation of all Somali communities; afford the Somali people the opportunity to directly elect their representatives through “one person, one vote” and include a role for political parties in the elections.
The partners called on the House of the People and the Upper House of Parliament to complete the adoption of the Electoral Bill and the revised Political Parties Law by the end of 2019.
Somalia is making urgent preparations for universal suffrage elections, which will be the first of its kind after more than two decades since the outbreak of the civil war that followed the collapse of the Somali government in 1992.
According to the UN, Somalia last held one-person, one-vote elections in March 1969 when the government was overthrown in a bloodless military coup. Parliamentary and presidential elections took place in late 2016 and early 2017 through a system of indirect suffrage.
The partners called on all stakeholders and institutions to set aside their differences and engage in constructive dialogue.
The partners said the Somali leaders should guarantee a minimum of 30 per cent representation for women in the Parliament and enable the broadest possible participation including of internally displaced persons.
They said election preparations should enjoy wide support among all Somali stakeholders and be capable of being implemented effectively and securely and of attracting sufficient funding through application of these principles.
During the Somalia Partnership Forum on October 2 the government committed to enact the Electoral law and the amended Political Parties Law by December 2019. -Xinhua