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Somalia: Farmajo hosts meeting with FMS leaders and parliament leadership

By Staff correspondent , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo held a closed-door meeting with federal states leadership on Tuesday, just hours after the international community expressed ‘regret’ over Somali leaders' failure to realize the one-person-one-vote goal after talks Mogadishu.

The leaders had reached a compromise for the contentious electoral question, a move that effectively ended the uncertainty surrounding Somalia's upcoming elections, but the gesture from the international community outrightly shows that something extra ought to be done in the next couple of months.

But at Mogadishu, sources said that the leaders met to discuss the best way of moving forward with the recently agreed electoral model without compromising with tenets of democracy, which have been the major concern for Somalia's partners, who were pushing for one-person-one-vote elections.

In the meeting at Villa Somalia were President Farmaajo, Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen [Southwest], Mohamed Abdi Waare [HirShabelle], Ahmed Abdi Kariye [Galmadug], Said Abdullahi Deni [Puntland], Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe [Jubaland], and Mogadishu Mayor Omar Filish.

The leaders, sources added, discussed timely polls reflecting people's aspirations to strengthen stability, unity, and peace in the country. There were concerns that failure to hold timely elections, the country would have plunged into a serious pre-election crisis.

After they ended the debacle, the team has been holding informal meetings in Mogadishu, with various stakeholders hailing Deni and Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe for showing "exemplary leadership". "Our unity is our nation's victory", reads the slogan in the photo group background taken by the leaders.

It's however unclear if the country is able to move forward following reservations by the international community, which is responsible for supporting various initiatives undertaken by Somalia. The group supports both development and security initiatives in the war-torn nation.

The deal, they observed, fell short of the requisites for a free, fair, and transparent election, adding that the MPs should be voted in a direct electoral process. The partners had been pushing for a one-person-one-vote model, which they argue that it's "inclusive and democratic" as compared to the clan-based system.

"They acknowledge that this agreement resulted from a Somali-led and Somali-owned dialogue among FGS and FMS leaders, and understand that some details of the agreed process are still to be clarified and additional stakeholders may be consulted," read the statement.

"The partners observe with regret that the announced model falls short of the longstanding Somali goal of direct voting for members of parliament in this electoral cycle. The partners urge that the 2020/21 electoral process be free, fair, transparent, and inclusive."

Inside the deal, the stakeholders agreed to implement a Constituency Caucus model, which would see 101 delegates from each constituency electing an MP, who would later take part in presidential polls. Elders are to pick stakeholders for the elections, the deal noted.

Also, the team had agreed that elections to be held from November to February 2021 and that senators would be picked in the regional assemblies. Further, it was also agreed that representatives for Somaliland, the northern breakaway region, would be picked in Mogadishu.