Somalia's opposition candidates meet PM Roble amid vote rigging claims

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Top presidential candidates in Somalia are meeting Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, just hours after rejecting ongoing parliamentary elections in the country, which they termed as "opaque and shambolic".

Former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud along with Wadajir party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur are among political bigwigs meeting the PM, who they have accused in recent weeks of "throwing the elections exercise to conspirators".

Before the Lower House elections kicked off, the opposition team accused outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo of stage-managing the polls to get a clear advantage during the elections of the president. They claimed key security chiefs were staged in various electoral committees.

While the team is yet to announce the outcome of the Sunday meeting, it's however, clear that they will discuss the ongoing elections across the country. A number of states - Somaliland, Galmudug, and Southwest have started electing legislators to the House of the People.

The meeting between the two sides is taking place at Villa Somalia at the backdrop of calls from the international community to have the electoral exercise concluded. 101 delegates from each clan elect their MP in the 275-seat Lower House of the Federal parliament. 

On Saturday, the opposition team vowed to oppose the outcome of the polls in states which have elected MPs, noting that the exercise was conducted in an opaque manner. They cited widespread rigging and manipulation.

The electoral dispute Committee on Sunday halted the victory of National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] acting director Yasin Farey, who had been announced the winner in the Galmadug election. He's a close ally of Farmaajo and it's not clear if he has resigned from NISA.

Also, the Federal Indirect Elections Team [FIET] called off the election of one of the seats in Southwest on Sunday, the Southwest State Indirect Elections Team [SIET] went on to conduct the exercise. Former Speaker Jawari had been blocked from the race under unclear circumstances.

In a statement on Saturday, the Council of Presidential Candidates, a conglomerate of opposition parties said all of the procedures for the Lower House of Parliament elections had not been followed, risking the country to slide back to civil war.

“The council will continue its meetings and will work in the best possible avenue to ensure that credible and fair elections take place in the country and to save the country’s future, and its state and peace-building road map,” the council noted.

Somali PM Roble took the responsibility of the management of the election and the security from Farmaajo after the outgoing president failed to conduct a timely and inclusive election this year as his term ended without a successor in place.

GAROWE ONLINE

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