Sunday May 2, 2021
The African Union (AU) Commission on Sunday hailed a recent decision by the Somalian parliament to return the Horn of Africa nation on course for elections.Before the decision that came on Saturday, Somali leaders had failed several times in the past six months to strike a deal to hold elections, with lawmakers voting last month to extend President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's term in office for two years.
"The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, welcomes the decision by the House of the People of the Federal Parliament of Somalia to reinstate the 17 September 2020 Agreement as the basis for the upcoming elections, following the request by H.E. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed 'Farmaajo,'" said an AU press release.
The Somali lower parliament chamber reversed this decision in a unanimous vote, setting the country on course for previously agreed indirect elections, according to the house leadership.
"The Chairperson of the Commission commends H.E. President Farmaajo for putting the interests of the Somali people first. The Chairperson also welcomes the lead role accorded to the Prime Minister to prepare for peaceful, credible and transparent elections and ensure its security," the AU statement added.
"Furthermore, the Chairperson thanks the Somali stakeholders for heeding the call of the AU Peace and Security Council to adhere to the September 2020 Agreement endorsed by all stakeholders as the most viable pathway to organize the elections as early as possible."
Mahamat reiterated the call for an immediate return to dialogue and negotiations. He reassured Somalia of the active support of the AU and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for this process.
Turkey was the first country to welcome the decision to return to the electoral process in Somalia and pledged its support to "the friendly and brotherly" people of Somalia on Saturday.
An agreement between the central government and regional leaders in the town of Dhusamareb on Sept. 17 last year was seen as a major step towards Somalia holding parliamentary and presidential elections in late 2020 and early 2021, respectively. It had since stalled as the country's divided political leaders differed on how to proceed with the elections.