Partners call for conclusion of electoral process in Somalia

International partners have called on Somali leaders to conclude elections for all House of the People seats ahead of the March 15 deadline.

The partners, including representatives from the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations also urged all leaders to ensure that the electoral process respects the right of women to participate fully in all aspects of public life, and that the minimum quota of 30 percent women’s representation in Parliament should be achieved. 

“We, therefore, urge that ongoing electoral process be redoubled to ensure more women’s representation in the Federal Parliament,” the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Anita Kiki Gbeho, said in a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting in the Puntland capital, Garowe, on Sunday evening.

The delegation of some of Somalia’s international partners was in Puntland, northeast Somalia, where it held meetings with the President of Puntland State, Said Abdullahi Deni, to discuss the support needed to conclude the ongoing electoral process on time. 

The meeting with Deni and members of his cabinet was part of regular visits to the federal member states by representatives of international partners to discuss means to support Somalia’s peace, security and humanitarian processes. 

Gbeho noted that Puntland State had so far filled 31 out of 37 parliamentary seats, with five of these seats taken by women. 

“I, therefore, urge stakeholders to work together constructively and expeditiouslywhile ensuring political space for all, so that the electoral process can be completed as agreed by all,” she said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

The visiting delegation said it was impressed by the progress Puntland has made towards completing the parliamentary elections by the set deadline. 

Deni said the discussions with the European Union (EU), UN, AMISOM and IGAD delegation had centred on support and solutions to any challenges met during the electoral process. 

“We discussed the prevailing challenges, how to address them and how to conclude the elections on time. We also looked at ways to implement all the agreements, including the realisation of the thirty percent quota for women,” said Deni. 

The leaders had set March 15 as the deadline for holding the elections of the House of the People.  -Xinhua

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