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Civil society groups deny endorsing universal suffrage polls after meeting Farmajo

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The civil society groups in Somalia have refuted claims that they endorsed the universal suffrage polls, just hours after meeting President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmadug, where the country's current leadership is holed up for a series of meetings.

President Farmajo, who is in Galmadug for talks with FMS leaders held a preliminary meeting with the civil rights groups at Galmudug president palace on Saturday, discussing the current situation in the country and the upcoming elections.

In a statement on his Twitter account on Sunday, Abdinur Mohamed, the Director of Communications in Villa Somalia has confirmed the meeting. The president has also met with Federal State leaders with the attendance of PM Khaire.

This was a preliminary meeting on Sunday evening ahead of the upcoming forum on the elections in Somalia and other disputed political issues. The leaders, however, did not reveal if they have agreed on the agendas, conference protocols as well as procedures of the consultative conference.

"On the 1st full day of his stay in Dhusamareb since arriving on Saturday, H.E President Farmaajo spent his time in a series of meetings with some of FMS leaders, prominent community elders Civil Society groups ahead of the start of FGS-FMS consultative forum in Dhusamareb," he had said.

However, in a statement on Facebook, Villa Somalia said the Civil Society team had agreed to back one-person-one-vote elections, which has been endorsed by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and the international partners but has been rejected by opposition leaders and regional leaders.

Villa Somalia insisted that the presidency shares its desires with the civil society for a one-person-one-vote model, which is being favored by the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC], the body which is mandated to hold polls in the Horn of Africa.

Early this month, the commission had projected to be ready by early March in 2020, adding that to deliver a biometric election, it will require an additional of five months, a move which technically means that the current term of executive and parliament would be extended.

But in a quick rejoinder, the civil society groups denied their support for the one-person-one-vote model of election terming the Presidency’s claim as "unfortunate". It insisted that it did not dwell on the political aspect during the discussion.

“Very unfortunate that a statement from the Presidency has claimed that the civil society groups want universal suffrage model and that they support the National Independent Electoral Commission in this regard,” the civil society groups said, adding that such discussions did not feature.

“The civil society groups would like to state that they have not supported any model of election and that there is no specific model that they are supporting,” added the statement, which could complicate the current political situation in the country.

This week, the regional leaders and President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo are expected to start talks about the most convenient electoral model in Somalia, besides settling on the correct date. The team would also discuss the representations for Somaliland and Banadir regions in parliament.

Last week, regional leaders insisted that the universal suffrage model would not be appropriate for the country, arguing that it would lead to Farmajo's term extension. Lower House supports the model while the Senate has opposed the idea, and instead, called for dialogue to unlock the impasse.


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