Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has called for an urgent meeting with federal state leaders in the latest attempt to agree on a common electoral calendar.
“Considering the political and security situation of the country and the need to start the implementation of the election, I am hereby asking for the meeting,” he said in a statement.
The National Consultative Forum is scheduled to take place on February 2 in Dusamareb town (sometimes called Samareb), about 400 km north Mogadishu. Dusamareb town, in Galmudug State, was the venue of previous round of NCF meetings in July and August 2020.
Those expected to attend the meeting are Farmaajo, the presidents of the five Federal Member States (FMS)—Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland, Ahmed Kariye Qoorqoor of Galmudug, Ali Hussein Gudlawe of Hirshabelle, Abdiaziz Hassan Laftagareen of South West and Ahmed Islam Madobe of Jubbaland— and the Mayor of Mogadishu Omar Mohamed Filish.
The country is scrambling to rescue the course for elections even as the international community pressures the government to agree on the way forward.
The statement indicates that all discussions will be based on the September 17, 2020 agreement where an indirect election model was adopted. The same September 17 agreement was endorsed by the bicameral parliament of Somalia.
Additionally, President Farmaajo urged legislators in the Lower House and the senators in the Upper House to convene in a joint session on February 5.
“The president will debrief the joint parliamentary session on the situation of the country, especially on the election,” the statement says.
Villa Somalia issued the statement on Saturday a few hours after President Farmaajo met with representatives of Somalia’s international partners led by Mr James Swan, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
The international community had initially been calling for timely elections. But last week, they appeared to tone down and asked Somalis to discuss a workable plan where all regions can participate in elections.
“I think what is eagerly desired is an agreement on the way forward prior to February 8th. I think it's evident that because of the multi-stage system for organising Somali elections…it seems very likely this will extend for some additional period of time,” Swan told the media last Thursday in a virtual press briefing.
“What's important, we think, is to have an agreement on the way forward so that everyone can be confident in what the process entails, and that's very much what we are encouraging.”
The UN, UK, US, Turkey and other partners on Saturday endorsed the meeting.
Jubbaland and Puntland Presidents who had initially refused the elections, citing the composition of the federal electoral teams, have since said they will nominate representatives to local electoral commissions.
The two states have also said they will take part in the meetings.