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FMS leaders return to Mogadishu for talks with Somalia president

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Federal Member States leaders returned to Villa Somalia on Wednesday to fine-tune the pre-election pact which was signed almost a fortnight ago, as the country prepares for the much-anticipated elections, which would kick off later this year when the term for the current administration expires.

The five states leaders and Mogadishu Mayor Omar Filish signed the deal early after pressure from the international community, but the team did not complete some of the finer details that would guide a credible election that would be acceptable to all stakeholders in the country.

On Wednesday, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo hosted Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe [Jubaland], Said Abdullahi Deni [Puntland], Mohamed Abdi Waare [Hirshebelle], Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen [Southwest], and Ahmed Abdi Kariye of Galmadug along with the Mogadishu mayor for talks.

Sources privy to the meetings told Garowe Online that the leaders discussed the election timetable, formation of the joint electoral commission, which would handle the elections at the constituency level, and the dispute resolution body as recommended by parliament.

With the term expected to expire in November, the country will hold indirect polls that would be decided at the constituency level by a Caucus of 101 people widely selected from a number of stakeholders. A special team of elders will decide the people who will take part in the elections, the leaders agreed.

The National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] under the stewardship of Halima Ismael will not have a role to play in the elections since the leadership did not agree on a one-person-one-vote model that would have seen more people participate by choosing their leaders directly.

Before the deal was signed, the NIEC had ruled out timely elections, citing logistical challenges, something which triggered dialogue among the country's top leaders. The commission said it would hold elections from March 2022, something which made it difficult for the opposition to endorsing the move.

The team agreed to hold elections at the states' level with a team selected from both levels of government coordinating for the purpose of minimizing conflict. It's this team that would come up with a calendar for the elections once put in place by the leaders who are expected to continue with the conversation in the capital.

But despite the commitment to hold elections in the coming month, Somalia's international partners have not endorsed the model, arguing that it doesn't give people a chance to elect their preferred leadership. The country almost depends entirely on the partners to facilitate the elections.

Somalia has never held one-person-one-vote elections since 1969 after which the country was taken over by the military. The situation deteriorated in 1991 after military ruler Siad Barre was ousted from power, further plunging the country into unprecedented chaos which has bedeviled her institutions for three decades.


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