Somali leaders vow to hold elections

Saturday June 6 2020

Somalia elections

A man casts his ballot on November 16, 2016, in Somalia. Somalia last held one-person, one-vote elections in March 1969 when the government was overthrown in a bloodless military coup. PHOTO | SIMON MAINA | AFP 

FRED OLUOCH
By FRED OLUOCH
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Three top Somalia leaders—Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre, Somalia’s ambassador to the UN Abubakar Dahir Osman and the Speaker of the Senate, Abdi Hashi Abdullahi—have promised that the country will hold its first universal suffrage elections since 1969, despite current challenges suggesting the contrary.

Parliament was set to meet on June 6 to review the election timetable.

Spokesperson for the Somalia Ministry of Information, Ismail Muhktar Omar, told The EastAfrican that the government is trying to reach out to stakeholders to ensure the one-person-one vote elections.

The seventh session of parliament was scheduled to open in April, to hear the report of the National Independent Electoral Commission on the mode of election. Parliament was to subsequently enact rules to ensure that women get 30 per cent seats reservation, but the opening has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Holding a timely election is more important than anything else at this time and it’s one of the primary goals which the public entrusted us with,” said PM Kheyre who instructed the Cabinet to focus on ensuring the 2020/2021 elections are held on time. 

Mr Osman, on May 30 while addressing a UN Security Council in a discussion of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), said the country is determined to conduct a one-man one-vote election.

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Mr Abdullahi said that both the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on time despite the country facing several challenges.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the work of the federal parliament but I am optimistic that parliament will clear the many tasks awaiting it,” he said.

Parliamentary elections are set for December 2020 and presidential in January 2021.

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