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Somalia: PM holds first meeting with foreign diplomats

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The new prime minister of Somalia Mohamed Hussein Roble has held his first meeting with the foreign diplomats based in Mogadishu, barely a day after he officially took office.

The introductory meeting which took place on Monday at the PM’s office in Mogadishu focused on partnership in achieving national priorities, including the forthcoming elections and other key issues.

The ambassadors, EU, UN, and AU representatives expressed support for the PM and wished him success in the daunting tasks ahead and praised for giving Security, Elections, and Financial Reform top priorities.

Last week, the diplomats have released a joint statement, expressing regret over the announced election model that falls short of the longstanding Somali goal of direct voting for parliament members.

The new deal stipulates 101 electoral delegates will elect MPs in two constituencies in each Federal Member State. These delegates will be jointly selected by traditional elders, civil society, and FMS.

The support of the international community to Somalia is very critical in this electioneering period in order to get a handle of the security and prepare a peaceful environment to conduct elections in 2020-21.

Three previous elections in 2009, 2012, and 2017 were decided in a system where lawmakers were voted in by about 14,000 clan delegates. The lawmakers then elected a president. The clan-based election system has been widely criticized for marginalizing young people, women, and ethnic minorities.

This model, which was meant to be a temporary measure to mitigate clan conflict, has become a never-ending problem in the Horn of Africa nation that was beset by decades of wars and instability.

This week, the parliament unanimously endorsed an election agreement signed in Mogadishu on 17 September between Farmajo and leaders of the Federal states, culminating years of political wrangle.

Roble, 57, a former ILO worker, and political novice has pledged to form an effective government that will fix the challenges facing the country, including holding timely parliamentary and presidential elections on time.

The preparations for the elections come at a difficult juncture. While AMISOM has been mandated to help the Somali government prepare for elections and to also provide security during the voting process, the troops are at the same time in the midst of cutting down their presence in the country.