Sunday September 5, 2021
FILE PHOTO - A person casts her ballot on November 16, 2016, in Baidoa, southern Somalia. © Simon Maina, AFP
Somalia's electoral body has again delayed the start of indirect parliamentary and presidential elections which were due to start in September and October respectively.
The Federal Electoral Commission (FET) in a revised election timetable released on Saturday evening said ongoing Upper House elections will be concluded on September 18.
The FET said parliamentary or Lower House elections will begin on October 1 and end on November 20, thus delaying the previously scheduled Oct. 10 presidential election.
The schedule for the Upper House was earlier set for July 25, and the Lower House was to begin between August 10 and September 10.
The incumbent Mohamed Farmajo has been in office since the February 2017 election and his term expired on February 8, plunging the country into the political crisis after the four-year term of parliament ended on December 27, 2020.
Prime Minister Mohamed Roble, who was tasked by the presidency with organizing the elections, has held a series of meetings with stakeholders on the electoral calendar to come up with amicable dates for the delayed elections.
The electoral body did not provide reasons for the postponement of the presidential and parliamentary elections.
The FET did also not provide a date for the presidential elections which is now expected to be around the end of the year.
The electoral commission has in the recent past issued election schedules which have not been implemented, and sources said there are still challenges that have delayed the country's elections, which are being addressed by the prime minister.
Sources said the delay was caused by the fact that federal regions were not able to submit candidates' lists in time and failure to form local committees to vote.
Experts say the ongoing election's impasse -- failure to follow through the September 2020 revised electoral model -- pointed at Somalia's divided political elite.
The experts also say it is a defining moment for the country's ability to govern itself and the transition calendar as 2022 will also see the transfer of security responsibility to Somali National Security Forces upon the exit of the African Union troops.