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Somalia: Puntland President rules out winner-takes-all model, calls for dialogue

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online
Puntland state President Said Abdullahi Deni [File Photo]

GAROWE, Puntland - Somalia is not ready to embrace winner-takes-all electoral model in 2020/21 polls, Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni has argued, calling for dialogue, Garowe Online reports.

The Horn of Africa nation is preparing for the elections, even though parliament is yet to finalize the electoral bill which will guide the polls.

With the Proportional Representation also in the offing, authorities in Somalia are yet to agree on the right model, something which could plunge the country into an extension of terms.

Deni, whose leadership has brought about electoral sanity in Puntland, insists that the remaining period will not be enough to adopt the universal suffrage model.

“With only one year remaining, there are no indications on how the elections will take place,” Deni said on Sunday, adding that dialogue should take precedence.

The Puntland leader noted the clan matrix was still relevant in the war tone nation but insisted "negotiations should be done urgently".

For decades since the ouster of Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has preferred the election of leaders based on clan representation, a task done by elders.

“If they are saying 4.5 is over, it’s not over yet. It is still negotiable but we have to come together and discuss where we are headed to. There is no third way," he added.

The model, political parties in Somalia argued, will bring about delays in 2020 polls, a move which could culminate in "unprecedented term extensions for leaders".

But despite the resistance from the opposition, the United Nations envoy to Somalia James Swan has been pushing for the model.

In the past few weeks, the envoy has met several leaders and openly endorsed the 'one person one vote' model, popular in different states.

The matter seems to create divisions within the political circle despite the fact that the country has only one year to make preparations.

President Mohamed Farmajo is keen to retain the seat despite mounting pressure from his critics, who accuse him of gross violation of human rights.

Besides the thorny electoral dispute, Farmajo is also being accused of working with Ethiopian troops "to install his loyalists at states leadership".

Parliament is yet to table a report on the preferred model of elections but preliminary reports show that people are in support of the winner-takes-all model.

As the National Elections team grapples with uncertainty, their counterparts in Puntland State on Sunday launched a strategic plan.