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Somalia's PM joins FMS leaders gathering central town for election talks

Somalia
By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has arrived in Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmadug state on Tuesday afternoon, where the federal states' leadership has been holed up for the last four days over the pre-election stalemate.

Multiple sources intimate that the PM will be joining the federal states' leaders for the ongoing high-level talks on the country's elections, which the federal government had been accused of being "non-committal".

The PM recently seemed to speak from a different script after insisting that the government must deliver elections within the stipulated time, warning that "the delay will precipitate to unnecessary term extension". The PM further said, "our people deserve to go for polls and choose a new team in compliance with the constitution".

Somalia is facing unprecedented pre-election political conflict after stakeholders failed to agree on the right model for elections. While President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] and international partners insist on a one-person-one-vote model, federal states and the opposition believe that the system would lead to term extension.

NIEC said almost a month ago that the country cannot hold timely elections due to logistics involving the preparation of a universal suffrage election. The commission said that it can only deliver a manual election next year in March or an electronic one five months later.

Should this plan succeed, the current administration would, therefore, stay in power for an additional ten months contrary to the federal provisional constitution. Under the current law, the term of the current administration expires in November 2020.

But on Sunday, the regional leaders insisted that the country must go for an election this year, adding that Mogadishu should embrace a politically negotiated deal that would combat a possible political crisis in the coming months.

The team which comprised of Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe [Jubaland], Said Abdullahi Deni [Puntland], Mohamed Abdi Waare [HirShabelle], Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen [Southwest] and the host, Ahmed Kariye alias Qoor Qoor, ruled out a possibility of universal suffrage polls.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, the five leaders asked President Farmajo and PM Khaire to consider joining them for an "expedited" political solution. They asked the international community to continue supporting Somalia for the purpose of promoting unity and prosperity.

Some sources also hinted to Garowe Online that Farmajo could join the leaders on Thursday, but Villa Somalia is yet to confirm. Should he join, political temperatures could drastically reduce in Somalia, a country which has struggled to rebuild itself after decades of political turmoil and insecurity.

Farmajo had initially scheduled the joint conference for July 5-8 but it was called off after Puntland threatened to boycott following the decision by Lower House to approve certain contentious electoral clauses that Farmajo had promised to have them handled through dialogue.

Khaire is said to be keen to see a smooth transition, with pundits arguing that he could be having "serious" issues with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. International partners have always been pushing for a "genuine" dialogue to unlock the impasse.

GAROWE ONLINE