Somalia: Parliament Endorses Delegate Voting System

(file photo).
27 September 2020

Somalia's parliament on Saturday approved the electoral model reached last week by President Mohamed Farmaajo and leaders from the five federal states, paving the way for an indirect election.

Some 255 MPs from both Houses of the federal parliament had gathered in Mogadishu to discuss whether to endorse an agreement reached a week ago, which guaranteed a delegate voting system in the coming elections.

The agreement was approved with 252 MPs voting for it while one voted against it. Two legislators abstained. It means that Somalia's next elections will retain some bits used in the 2016 elections. Each of the 275 MPs will be elected by 101 delegates nominated jointly by the clan elders and the electoral body.

This means the elections will involve 27,775 delegates picked from across the five federal states. There will also be representation from Somaliland, which continues to seek total independence from Somalia.

On September 17, President Farmaajo reached the deal with leaders from Jubaland, Hirshabelle, Galmudug, South West and Puntland states, ending a year of animosity that had threatened to plunge the country back into chaos.

But the deal is a shortfall from the original target of holding universal suffrage.

Realities caused by insecurity, lack of proper legal regime, financial constraints and pressure from donors like the US played a part in the compromise.

Still, some politicians felt the wrangling between leaders wasted precious time to agree on a compromise.

"From day one, we knew the way Farmaajo was approaching the issue was wrong. He said he wanted one-person-one vote while on the other hand, he was fighting key stakeholders including federal state leaders and political parties," said Ilyas Ali Hassan, the chairman of the Somali Senate Committee on National Resources and foreign secretary of opposition Himilio-Qaran Party.

"We welcome the fact that he realised he was wrong, at least, now that today we have an agreement. Today's approval of the deal effectively puts the country in an electioneering mood. Everyone must now campaign for their seat."

The new elections will be held on December 27 where MPs will be elected.

The President is expected to be elected by February 7 although there could be a definite extension depending on logistics.

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