(Belga) Somali leaders announced on Sunday that they had reached an agreement to complete parliamentary elections by February 25, after repeated delays in the process that threatened the stability of the troubled country.
“The current election of the House of the People (lower house) will be completed between January 15 and February 25, 2022,” said a government statement. The agreement was reached after several days of discussions organized by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble with the heads of the various Somali states in order to emerge from the political crisis that this country in the Horn of Africa has been going through for nearly one year. Tensions are recurrent between Mr. Roble and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known by the nickname Farmajo, especially with regard to the organization of the elections. The recent escalation between the two men has raised fears that their conflict could escalate into widespread violence. In December, Farmajo suspended the prime minister he himself appointed in September 2020. The latter immediately accused the president of “attempted coup” and challenged his authority, while the opposition called Farmajo to resign. President since 2017, Farmajo saw his term expire on February 8, 2021 after failing to organize an election. The announcement in mid-April of the extension of his mandate for two years had provoked armed clashes in Mogadishu. In a gesture of appeasement, the head of state had instructed Mr. Roble to organize the elections. But in the months that followed, the clashes between the two men continued. According to Somalia’s complex electoral system, the assemblies of the country’s five states and delegates invested by a myriad of clans and sub-clans choose lawmakers who, in turn, appoint the president. Elections for the upper house have concluded in all states except Galmudug, and votes began in early November for the lower house. Many observers believe that the crisis at the top of the state and the electoral stalemate are distracting attention from more important issues in Somalia, such as the jihadist insurgency of the Shebabs which has shaken the country since 2007. (Belga)