Somali President calls for meeting with federal states over poll stalemate

In a recent attempt to agree on a common electoral calendar, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo of Somalia has called for an urgent meeting with federal state leaders.

“Considering the political and security situation of the country and the need to start the implementation of the election, I am hereby asking for the meeting,” he said in a statement.

The National Consultative Forum is scheduled to take place in the town of Dusamareb, sometimes known as Samareb, about 400 km north of Mogadishu, on 2 February. In July and August 2020, Dusamareb City, Galmudug State, was the venue for the previous round of NCF meetings.

The presidents of the five Federal Member States (FMS), Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland, Ahmed Kariye Qoorqoor of Galmudug, Ali Hussein Gudlawe of Hirshabelle, Abdiaziz Hassan Laftagareen of the South West and Ahmed Islam Madobe of Jubbaland, and the Mayor of Mogadishu, Omar Mohamed Filish, are expected to attend the meeting.

And as the international community forces the government to compromise on the path forward, the nation is scrambling to rescue the course for elections.

The statement shows that all negotiations will be focused on the agreement of September 17, 2020, where an indirect election model has been adopted. The same agreement of September 17 was approved by Somalia’s bicameral parliament.

In addition, President Farmaajo urged Lower House lawmakers and Upper House senators to convene on February 5 in a joint session.

“The president will debrief the joint parliamentary session on the situation of the country, especially on the election,” the statement says

On Saturday, a few hours after President Farmaajo met with representatives of Somalia’s international partners, Villa Somalia released a statement led by Mr James Swan, the UN Secretary-Special General’s Representative for Somalia and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

Originally, the international community called for timely elections. Last week, however, they seemed to tone down and asked Somalis to negotiate a workable plan to allow all regions to take part in elections.

Swan told the media last Thursday in a virtual press briefing that “I think what is eagerly desired is an agreement on the way forward prior to February 8th. I think it’s evident that because of the multi-stage system for organising Somali elections…it seems very likely this will extend for some additional period of time,”

“What’s important, we think, is to have an agreement on the way forward so that everyone can be confident in what the process entails, and that’s very much what we are encouraging.”

The meeting was supported by the UN, UK, US, Turkey and other partners on Saturday.

Since then, the presidents of Jubbaland and Puntland, who initially opposed the elections, citing the makeup of the federal electoral teams, have announced that they would appoint members to the local electoral commissions.

The two states have also said that they are going to participate in the meetings.

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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