Int’l partners to expedite Somalia’s electoral process, shun division

Somalia’s international partners Tuesday called for the rapid completion of the electoral process in line with the recently revised timeline and cautioned leaders to shun division.

The partners, including the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations, welcomed the deal struck on Sunday between Prime Minister, Mohamed Roble and six regional leaders on procedural updates and an expedited timeline for the House of the People elections. 

“It is time for all Somali leaders to focus on the rapid implementation of agreed decisions so that a credible electoral process can be concluded by February 25,” the partners said in a joint statement issued in the capital, Mogadishu. 

Parliamentary and presidential elections were first to be held between December 2020 and February 2021, respectively, but they were delayed due to wrangles over the selection of the elders, composition of the committees and how the polls would be conducted.

The electoral commission has since then issued election schedules which some have not been implemented, and sources said the challenges that have delayed the country’s elections were addressed during the national consultative talks which ended in Mogadishu on Sunday. 

The partners said they are pleased that the Prime Minister and the Federal Member State leaders made decisions on the basis of consultations with civil society, women representatives and opposition figures. 

“We call on all Somali political leaders to put the national interest first, prioritise the conclusion of an electoral process broadly accepted by Somalia’s people, and avoid provocations that may distract from that process and increase the risk of confrontation or even violence,” the partners said.

The foreign nations who have in the past said the repeated delays threatened the stability of Somalia said all leaders must ensure that security forces are not used as political instruments. 

This year’s poll is considered critical for the sake of entrenching the federal system of governance, which is required to appease communities and regions claiming systematic exclusion and marginalisation for decades. 

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. -Xinhua

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