Somalia Unable to Hold Planned General Election This Year - Commission

Somalian flag (file photo).

Mogadishu — Somalia's planned General Election for October this year is not feasible, and the earliest it can be held is March 2021, the Independent Electoral Commission has said.

This will be the first general election in 50 years in Somalia.

Commission Chairlady Ms Halima Ismael Ibrahim, alias Halima Yareey, on Saturday spoke to members of the Lower House of Parliament (better known as Golaha Shacabka - the people's hall), proposing two methods of conducting the election.

One method will involve voters being registered on election day as they vote, while the other involves pre-registration of voters on a roll before the election day.

The method of registering voters on election day is simpler and requires less time and resources, Ms Yareey told the MPs.

"If we accept [this] method, voters will be registered and recorded manually in registers as they come to cast their votes," she said. "This process is less cumbersome and requires nine months' preparation, that is from July 2020 to March 2021."

But if the leaders opt for voter registration before elections, this mode will require at least 13 months' preparation, Ms Yareey told the MPs.

"This voting system needs all eligible voters registered well before the voting day via modern technology, applying biometric means," she said. The required equipment also has to be bought.

Security of the election polls must be guaranteed and citizens should be educated on the electoral process.

"This process must ensure that all eligible citizens receive voter cards," she said, adding that all political parties would also be required to have proper registration before the election.

According the commission chairlady, each political party will have to submit its candidates as voting day approaches.

"This is a very complex process and its accomplishment requires 13 months, from July 2020 to August 2021," she said.

The MPs will now debate and vote for the most suitable election option between the proposed ones, or come up with an alternative method.

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