Politics, Africa

Somali leaders agree to complete parliamentary elections by Feb 25

Horn of Africa country mired in power struggle after president suspended premier over alleged corruption

Mohammed Dhaysane   | 09.01.2022
Somali leaders agree to complete parliamentary elections by Feb 25


Somalia's prime minister and regional leaders on Sunday agreed to conclude the ongoing parliamentary elections by Feb. 25.

The decision came after a week-long national consultative conference chaired by premier Mohamed Hussein Roble and attended by the regional leaders of Galmudug, South West, Hirshabelle, Puntland, Jubaland, and the mayor of Mogadishu, the country's capital. They agreed on an 18-point agenda on the elections, the prime minister's office said after the meeting was concluded in Mogadishu.

A statement issued by the leaders underlined the independence of the Federal Electoral Commission and Federal Member Commissions in the conduct of the elections, in accordance with the previous election agreements.

"The election of each seat shall be witnessed by the Electoral Commission, media, and independent observers in order to ensure the transparency and openness of the elections," the statement said.

The meeting was held after a fresh political standoff between the country's leaders emerged and the election commission ousted its chairman for "violating the independence of the electoral body."

Opposition candidates, comprising two former presidents, have already boycotted the parliamentary elections alleging lack of transparency, voter fraud, and violation of the electoral procedures.

Experts believe that given the current political climate, Somalia may not be able to conclude the parliamentary elections by Feb. 25.

"The declared decision carries a symbolic message of hope that an election process that lost credibility due to flagrant corruption and shameless fraud could be reformed and completed in 40 days," Abukar Arman, a former diplomat and the Servant General of Baseerah Transformative Strategies, told Anadolu Agency.

"The public needs confidence. As for the merit of elections, only time will tell," he added.

The country has already concluded the election for the entire Senate chamber.

According to the statement, the names of the delegates who will elect the members of parliament and civil society election observers will be made public before election day.

Only 24 out of 275 Lower House members of parliament have been elected so far. The Lower House elections started on Nov. 16, 2021, and its official conclusion date was Dec. 24.

The Horn of Africa country has been mired in a power struggle after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed suspended Premier Roble last month over alleged corruption and misuse of public land.

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