Experts fear chaos if elections delayed in Somalia

Opposition, government blame each other amid rising political tensions in country

Abdirahman Ali Mohamed, Omer Erdem   | 26.01.2021
Experts fear chaos if elections delayed in Somalia Mogadishu, Somalia ( Sadak Mohamed - Anadolu Agency )


Postponing the parliamentary elections or prolonging the president's office term could cause chaos in the country, Somalian experts said Monday. 

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Omar Abdi Jamal, a lecturer at the SIMAD University, said he would expect the elections to be held as planned in 2021 despite disagreements between the opposition and the government.

Stressing that such a scenario could inevitably lead to chaos, Jamal noted: “Any election that would be designed by the president will be boycotted by the opposition and hence will create troubles in the country. The government should negotiate with the opposition regarding the elections. Otherwise, such a policy would create chaos and anarchy in the country.”

Ahmed Tajir, a political scientist, said President Mohammed Abdullah Fermacu seems determined to postpone the elections, notwithstanding the objections from the opposition and some state governors.

“The president's term ends on Feb. 8, 2021. There have been some efforts to postpone the elections or extend the president's office term. There are also some disputes over the election commission.”

Tajir agreed with Jamal that delaying elections could lead to chaos in the Horn of Africa country.

The government and the opposition blame each other for the political tension in the country.

While governors of the Puntland and Jubaland states accuse the president of suppressing the opposition, the federal government accuses them of not complying with the deal signed in September 2020 regarding the administration of the election.

Former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed also joined the opposition's ranks in accusing the government and President Fermacu of hijacking the elections.    

Election system

Parliamentary and presidential elections are held successively in the country. A total of 275 members of the lower wing of the parliament, also known as the People's Assembly, are elected for four years by 14,000 delegates representing different tribes in Somalia.

The state councils determine the 54 members of the parliament's upper wing. Elected members of the parliament select both the speaker of parliament and the president.

According to the country's election system, the country's four major tribes send an equal number of deputies of their choice to the parliament, while other tribes send half of that.

It is projected that more than 15 candidates, including two former presidents, a prime minister, and a parliament speaker, will run in the presidential elections.

* Writing by Ahmet Gencturk in Ankara

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