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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Pressure mounts on Somalia States to agree on polls model

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Leaders in Somalia have failed to strike a consensus on how the February 8 polls will be conducted.

Meanwhile, International observers are urging leaders to put aside their personal ambitions and settle on a national interest approach that will finally resolve the impasse.

The electoral committee has also failed to provide a listing of polling officials expected to conduct the elections.

And now the regional states of Jubbaland and Puntland have nominated eight members each to the electoral committee, in what appears will break the deadlock.

Jubbaland and Puntland have demanded a meeting of the National Consultative Forum (NCF) to iron out existing issues.

The United Nations mission in Somalia alongside other partners has welcomed the move by Puntland and Jubbaland to nominate election officials.

Naming of the election officials will create conditions for the rapid implementation of the September 17 electoral model in an inclusive and consensual manner.

The September 17 agreement saw the member states of Galmudug, Hirshabelle, SouthWest state, Jubbaland, and Puntland including the mayor of Mogadishu agree to make several changes to the three previous election agreements.

The federal government and regional states agreed to appoint electoral commissions at each level of government to manage the elections.

“The partners call for a single agreed electoral process – without parallel or partial alternatives – that will be conducted peacefully with the protection of political space and media freedom, guarantees the 30 percent women’s quota, and results in a credible and inclusive outcome that serves the national interest,” the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said in a statement.

UNSOM membership is drawn from African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, and the United Nations.

Puntland had refused to nominate their electoral committees saying that they were infiltrated by spy agents and loyalists to President Mohammed Abdullahi alias Farmajo who is seeking a second term in office.

Jubbaland refused to take part in the process, demanding the federal government to withdraw its troops from the Gedo region where troops from the Somalia forces clashed with its troops for weeks.

“Holding timely, credible elections is a vital element of the partnership between Somalia and the international community. International partners urge all Somali leaders to make fair compromises necessary to ensure credible elections,” said UNSOM.

Somalians now hope that the February 8 presidential polls will usher in a wave of change and continued stability.

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