Somalia: Farmajo hosts FMS leaders for election talks under US pressure
MOGADISHU, Somalia - After several days of delay, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has on Sunday hosted five Federal States leaders and the Banadir governor in Mogadishu, in a meeting which is geared towards solving the pre-election standoff which threatens Somalia's peaceful coexistence.
For months now, both the Federal Government of Somalia leadership and those from member states have been wrangling over the date and model for upcoming elections, with just over two months before the country goes for an election.
Last month, President Farmajo, three regional leaders, and Mogadishu Mayor Omar Filish agreed on a Constituency Caucus model for elections. However, the outcome did not get an endorsement from Jubaland and Puntland regional leaders, further occasioning the Mogadishu talks.
On Sunday, Farmajo was pictured in a meeting at Villa Somalia with all the states leadership and Filish, and the talks are set to go on until a clear solution is reached to prevent the country from plunging into election chaos.
Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni and his Jubaland counterpart Ahmed Madobe had traveled to Mogadishu for talks following pressure from a section of international partners, but the discussions were delayed due to various underlying issues.
Among these issues included pushing for the presence of HirShabelle leader Mohamed Abdi Waare, Southwest President Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen, and Galmadug President Ahmed Abdi Kariye [Qoor-Qoor], who had not been invited despite having endorsed the Dhusamareb III conference outcome.
Since last month, the US embassy in Mogadishu has been issuing threats and encouraging statements to push for consensus on a timely and inclusive election in the country to avoid turmoil and political instability.
Further, Madobe had demanded an immediate withdrawal of the Somali National Army [SNA] troops from the Gedo region as a condition for participation in Mogadishu talks. Sources had hinted to the Garowe Online that the FGS had agreed to withdraw the troops from the troubled region.
Besides the date and the model, the team is also expected to agree on the number of representatives for the Banadir region in the Senate and those from Somaliland, the breakaway region in the north of the country.
Further, the FFG and FMS leaders will also review the Dhusamareb proposal where the leadership had maintained that the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] and FMS election bodies will jointly oversee the constituency caucus elections.
The international community is pushing for consensus among the top stakeholders, arguing that a divisive election will derail efforts to reform the social-economic status of Somalia. The country has been struggling with insecurity and instability for almost three decades.
Farmajo's term will end in February 2021 but he has expressed interest in re-election, arguing that his team should be given more time to transform institutions in the country. He's likely to face former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire who announced his bid on Friday and former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.