Somalia: Political leaders kick off key election talks
MOGADISHU, Somalia-Somali political leaders have convened at Mogadishu’s Villa Somalia for key talks focused on the electoral transition by August this year on Sunday, Garowe Online reports.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud along with Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarkeand Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte has welcomed regional presidents to the presidential palace.
Among the topics during the political deliberations are implementation of 2016 poll blueprint, status of the capital, national security, poll wards and representation of Mogadishu in the Upper House of federal parliament.
Sources say, there are differences within the political leadership over whether Mogadishu can be represented in the Upper House.
A fresh debate is likely to emerge heated on the status of Mogadishu as the capital of the Federal Republic of Somalia, a key demand previously floated by the northeastern State of Puntland.
On Friday, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud raised stakes, saying it is unsustainable for a city of three million not to be represented in the Upper House, referring to Mogadishu.
On May 22, the President passed election bill without vote in the 275-seat-chamber of parliament ahead of looming dissolution over the next few weeks.
The government failed to garner enough backing for controversial election model initially marred by months of political deadlock in parliament, opting for rarely-enforced presidential decree.
Former ally-turned-critic and federal MP Abdullahi Godah Bare afterwards accused Mohamud of treason due to what he described a “deliberate unconstitutional move”.
Somalia Federal Government introduced national election model that drew swift support from western donors for long baffled by slower pace of the country’s transition from clan-based power sharing formula in January.
Incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is seeking second term in office under a model, UN envoycalled “a midway point between the election of 2012, when only 135 electors selected 275 Members of Parliament and 2020, when all Somalis will have a say.”
Somalia held first-ever presidential election on its own since the state collapse, in September 2012.