International partners urge Somali leaders to swiftly strike deal on poll impasse

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United Nations
United Nations

International partners have called on Somali leaders to urgently resolve a deadlock on delayed national elections.

The partners, including the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations among Western countries, on Tuesday called on all signatories of the Sept. 17, 2020 pre-election deal to come together urgently to finalize the implementation of the electoral model, building on the work of the technical committee, which met in Baidoa in southwest region on Feb. 15-17.

“It is now more urgent than ever for Somalia’s political leaders to place the national interest first, and work together to hold elections that are broadly supported as soon as possible to move the country forward,” they said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu.

The partners also expressed concern over the violent events which occurred in Mogadishu on Feb. 19 during anti-government protests organized by opposition presidential candidates to press President Mohamed Farmajo to call for elections.

“We call on all parties to maintain calm and exercise restraint to allow political dialogue to advance. International partners are actively supporting Somalis to achieve this outcome,” they said.

The proposed meeting between Farmajo and five federal member state leaders is expected to arrive at a way forward for the delayed elections, considered critical for the sake of entrenching the federal system of governance, which is required to appease communities and regions claiming systematic exclusion and marginalization for decades.

On Dec. 1, 2020, Somalia missed a deadline to hold its parliamentary elections which were due to begin as agreed upon by the government and six regional states in September 2020. Parliamentary and presidential elections were to be held between December 2020 and February, respectively.

The Horn of Africa nation last held one-person, one-vote elections in March 1969 when the government was overthrown in a bloodless military coup. Parliamentary and presidential elections took place in late 2016 and early 2017 through a system of indirect suffrage.

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