Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo speaks after winning the vote in Mogadishu, Somalia, Feb. 8, 2017. Former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was elected new president of Somalia in a tightly contested polls held in Mogadishu on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)

Somali government and leaders of five regional states wrapped up a four-day meeting in Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmudug State, on Wednesday evening, resolving to hold credible and timely elections.

President Mohamed Farmajo and leaders of Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Puntland, Jubbaland and South West State also agreed to appoint a joint technical committee to provide guidance on the process and model of the elections.

The leaders who also included Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, agreed to enhance relations between Mogadishu and federal member states to sustain stability and fight terrorism.

The meeting also agreed to boost economic development efforts in order to intensify the debt relief process in Somalia and to reconvene in two weeks to complete consultations on the electoral process, according to a communique issued at the end of the meeting.

The Horn of African nation was due to hold parliamentary elections in October while presidential polls will take place in February 2021. The electoral body has ruled out a universal vote this year and has instead called for up to 13 months to hold credible elections.

Both President Farmajo and Khaire have dismissed the extended timeframe, noting elections must happen this year in line with the constitution.

Khaire has warned that any extension to the government’s mandate will plunge the country into political, security and constitutional crisis and assured the public the country will go to the polls as planned.

During the meeting, President Farmajo denied plans to extend his term in office as well as influencing the electoral model for the country.

“I have never tried to influence the election model or communicate with any electoral official. I fulfilled my constitutional mandate when I received the passed bill. I have never had any preferred model. All I want is to leave a legacy of democracy and stability,” Farmajo assured. Enditem

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