Somali leaders urged to embrace consensus to complete electoral process

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Somalia’s international partners Tuesday called on leaders to embrace dialogue and consensus in the final push to complete the electoral process.

The partners including the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations among other Western nations said they are encouraged that more than 91 percent of the House of the People seats have now been chosen. “We trust that this represents unstoppable momentum to complete the remaining seats very soon,” the partners said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Only two regional states – Hirshabelle and Jubaland – have yet to complete the electoral process for the House of the People.

The partners called on the leaders to prioritize the necessary dialogue and consultation to conclude the electoral arrangements – particularly in Jubaland – to ensure the communities concerned are represented in the next Parliament.

With the focus now turning to the convening of parliament in Mogadishu and election of the parliamentary speakers and then the national president, the partners urged the political leaders to ensure that these processes reflect wide consensus.

This, they said, is especially important for decisions on the location, security protocols, and anti-corruption measures for parliament’s election-related meetings.

“It is vital that arrangements for this final stage of the electoral process enjoy strong endorsement across the political spectrum and deliver a result that all accept as legitimate,” the partners said ahead of the exercise slated for April 14.

The partners urged that preparations for an April 14 swearing-in proceed at pace even as work continues to resolve other outstanding issues and complete the remaining seats in Hirshabelle and Jubaland.

The partners said completion of the electoral process will then allow Somalia to address other urgent national priorities, such as responding to the devastating drought and building security and prosperity in the years ahead.

They however regretted the many electoral irregularities observed across the country and the disappointing failure to achieve the 30 percent quota for women’s representation in parliament required by the September 17, 2020 agreement.

The 54-member Senate and the 275 members of parliament from the Lower House are expected to jointly elect a new president later in 2022.

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