International partners urge Somali leaders to resolve electoral impasse

Somalia flag
Somalia flag

International partners have called on Somali leaders to swiftly resolve the electoral impasse to ensure the elections are not further delayed.

The partners, including the African Union, the United Nations and the European Union, urged the country’s top political stakeholders to show leadership in the interest of the nation and to quickly resolve outstanding issues of implementation through dialogue and compromise so that a credible electoral process can proceed as soon as possible.

“The spirit of dialogue and compromise which led to the signing of the Sept. 17 agreement must be sustained to move the electoral process forward,” the partners said in a joint statement issued late Tuesday, referring to the accord signed by President Mohamed Farmajo and five leaders of federal member states on an electoral model over the conduct of parliamentary and presidential elections.

The electoral model was also endorsed by both houses of parliament and was later welcomed by many presidential aspirants.

According to the international partners, despite the disappointment of the international community and many Somalis that this model falls far short of “one-person, one-vote” elections, the Sept. 17 agreement remains the sole acceptable basis for the 2021 elections.

The partners reiterated that any threat or use of violence is not acceptable and warned that there can be no re-opening of the Sept. 17 electoral model or the creation of an alternative or parallel process.

They also emphasized the importance of free and open political space in which candidates are able to express their views peacefully and the media are able to operate without restriction.

“Broadly inclusive understandings on its implementation are needed to ensure the credibility of this process. This would be in line with the agreed commitment from the Somali Partnership Forum,” the partners said.

The statement comes after Prime Minister Mohamed Roble said on Jan. 9 that the country will hold elections without further delay despite the existing differences over the composition of the electoral committee.

Roble said Somalia cannot afford to delay parliamentary and presidential elections further, and that the balloting will take place in regional states of South West, Galmudug, and Hirshabelle, including Mogadishu.

Two other states, Puntland and Jubaland, have vowed not to hold the elections, calling for talks to resolve differences over the election process and other issues.

The opposition maintains it will boycott the elections and has instead demanded electoral reforms amid concerns about the election commission and its capacity to hold a free, fair and credible vote.

The Horn of Africa nation has already missed a deadline to hold parliamentary elections on Dec. 1 last year as agreed in September 2020.

Under the country’s indirect elections, delegates or clans choose 275 lawmakers through special balloting and then the legislators and 59 senators elect the president. Enditem

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