Somalia Postpones Parliamentary Elections Until November

Somalia’s indirect election of a president will be delayed as voting for members of the lower house of parliament has been rescheduled for late November.

The election of lawmakers by elders was expected to be concluded this week, followed by the election of a speaker and the swearing-in of lawmakers next week – in time for them to choose a president on October 10.

However, a new timetable for the drawn-out process has been written up by an election implementation commission, indicating that lawmakers will be chosen between Oct. 1 and Nov. 20.

The timetable did not give a date for when the lawmakers will elect a president though the current government’s term expired in February.

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A political crisis erupted in the streets of Somalia’s capital as a result of the election’s postponement and a dispute over President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s effort to extend his term.

That deadlock was resolved in May when the country’s Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, declared his commitment to free and fair elections after signing an agreement with leaders from the country’s regions to organise indirect elections.

Clan elders were supposed to choose parliamentarians in December, and the new lawmakers were supposed to elect a new president on February 8 under the indirect election procedure.

Both procedures failed to take place, amid disputes over issues that included the composition of an election commission supervising the voting.

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The disagreements caused concern that clans could turn on each other and that the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab Islamist insurgency could exploit a security vacuum.

“My government and I are committed to implementing a free and fair indirect election.

“We are all responsible to ensure women get their 30 per cent quota (of positions).

“I urge all state presidents to facilitate and implement this,” Roble said after signing the agreement.

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