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Somalia's Int'l partners call for dialogue in Galmadug electoral crisis

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Opposing groups in Galmadug disputed electoral process must embrace dialogue to avert possible violence, Somalia's international partners have warned.

A standoff has ensued in the state, throwing the much anticipated presidential polls into a limbo, with four candidates bowing out of the race.

Last week, Abid Ahmed, Mohamed Odowaa, Abdullahi Wehliye, and Kamal Gutaale announced their decision to quit the race, citing "Villa Somalia interference".

Sufi group Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama'ah (ASWJ) on Wednesday also rejected the presidential polls process, further complicating the situation.

Federal Government, ASWJ claimed, "manipulated the electoral process by imposing MPs with an aim of a hand-picking winner".

But the situation deteriorated on Tuesday when the ASWJ group formed a 69-member assembly, parallel to legally mandated 89-member Parliament.

The group is understood to have picked her own speaker, further complicating the already fragile situation. The group has since fallen out with FGS.

In a statement on Tuesday, international partners have asked the warring groups to embrace dialogue for peace and stability.

"All stakeholders should remain focused on the need to participate in a process that will enjoy broad support and avoid the risk of instability and conflict," read the statement.

It added: "This will require an inclusive approach, forged through dialogue, and will require flexibility on all sides."

Significantly, the partners said, communities reached compromises on sharing of seats for the best interest of the state.

The emerging differences should be solved through dialogue and if necessary, the actors should take time to do so, the statement said.

While condemning alternative processes, the groups added, "the polls should be objective of a unified and stable Galmudug state."

The process, they said, should remain objective and transparent by embracing all stakeholders to avert possible breakout.

And to achieve this, they said, "remaining steps of the electoral process to be taken in the same spirit of compromise that has yielded the progress witnessed so far."

The 89-member assembly was expected to pick a successor to President Ahmed Dualle on January 30th but the process will now be delayed until a compromise is reached.


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