Somalia’s electoral process facing headwinds amid quest for stability

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Elections in Somalia have now entered the third week with only two federal member state parliaments electing new senators ahead of the presidential election set for October 10, according to a schedule by the interim elections commission.

Three federal member states – Jubbaland, Galmudug and HirShabelle are yet to conclude the exercise which according to the schedule issued in July by the federal Indirect Elections team (FIET) was supposed to be completed on July 28.

The Somaliland Caucus that comprises legislators, elders and other key stakeholders responsible for the election of senators is yet to start the election process.

The Council of Presidential Candidates (CPC) which brings together 15 opposition presidential candidates said in a joint statement on Tuesday following a meeting in Mogadishu that there was a need for more transparency during the Lower House elections adding there had been compromising of standards in the Senate elections.

The 54-member Senate and the 275 members of parliament from the Lower House are expected to jointly elect a new president on Oct. 10. However, the rate at which the Senate elections are moving could mean that the country may have to wait longer for a new president.

According to the FIET timetable, the election of members of parliament is supposed to run from September 12 to October 2. However, that milestone must be preceded by the selection of the 27,775 delegates. The selection process is lengthy and painstakingly slow as it involves negotiations and compromise among the various sub-clans.

It is also worth noting that, unlike the 2016 election cycle, this round is confronted by adverse security challenges. The militant group al-Shabab has mounted several attacks in recent months. Military onslaughts have also intensified across the south-central regions and given that elections will take place in two towns in each FMS, the prospects of disruptions also remain high.

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