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Somalia resumes parliamentary elections

Saturday January 22, 2022

Somalia’s federal states have announced partial programmes to resume delayed parliamentary elections meant to fill up the House of the People, the country’s lower House.

Galmudug state, which had begun but paused its polls, announced it will elect 21 more legislators in the coming days, according to a programme issued by the local State Electoral Implementation Team (SEIT).

The Galmudug SEIT, like other electoral bodies in the five federal states, wrote to the national body, the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT), to indicate how they will adapt the new calendar where stakeholders agreed to hold all parliamentary elections by February 25.

The deal was agreed earlier this month by the National Consultative Council (NCC) meeting on January 9, urging all electoral committees to start accelerating the elections. The NCC is chaired by Prime Minister Hussein Roble.

Seats reserved for women

Each federal state is supposed to provide its calendar as long as it fits in the schedule agreed on by the NCCl.

Per the NCC decision, constituencies were to start the elections by January 15.

The Galmudug SEIT announced its list of seats on January 15, but it was significant because it was the largest number of seats to be elected on the same day by any federal region so far. Four of those seats will be reserved for women.

Hirshabelle state issued a list of 11 seats. In the outgoing parliament, two of the seats announced by the state had belonged to prominent politicians - Abdulkadir Osoble Ali, a member of the Coalition of the (opposition) Presidential Candidates, and Ms Khadija Mohamed Dirie, the interim minister for humanitarian affairs and disaster management.

Ms Dirie landed at Johwar airport, the local capital, this week, announcing that she was there to regain her seat. “I am back where my parents and I were born with the confidence that I will be reelected to the House of the People,” Ms Dirie told a large gathering near the runway.

In the previous parliament, 13 seats had been allocated for Hirshabelle’s Jowhar town and were occupied by legislators like Mohamed Islow Duale, a former internal security minister, and Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, the current holder of the internal security portfolio, who happens to be a close associate of PM Roble.

The presence of veteran politicians and newcomers on the election lists indicates tough duels ahead.

Jubbaland state, the southernmost state in Somalia, announced 43 seats will be up for grabs.

Jubbaland had already held voting for four seats in Kismayu town, the interim capital of the state, 500km south of Mogadishu.

PM Roble and other members of the NCC - the presidents of the states of Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West and Jubbaland plus the Mayor of Mogadishu - had urged all electoral teams to act prudently and accelerate the election processes.

The Puntland SEIT had announced that voting for 10 seats would happen on Saturday. On Monday, the team anticipated that the contests for five of the 10 seats would take place in Garowe town, the capital, 1,000km northeast of Mogadishu, on January 22.

On January 15, Muse Guelleh Yusuf was elected the chairman of FEIT, Somalia’s top election management committee.

He replaced Mohamed Hassan Irro, whom most “FEIT members accused of messing up in politics, compromising the neutrality of the committee”.

On Tuesday, the deputy chairman of the Election Dispute Resolution Committee, Mohamed Ibrahim Barre, announced that the committee is to elect its chairperson.


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