Somalia’s Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT) has issued a schedule for the election of legislators.
In a press statement on Tuesday, Chairman Mohamed Hassan Irro stated that the committee was declaring the official timeline for the election of the members of the 54-member Upper House (Senate) and the 275-member Lower House (the Peoples’ Hall).
He said the schedule is based on the procedure outlined in the electoral agreement reached on September 17, 2020 by the leaders of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States (FMS) plus the Governor of Banadir region (Mogadishu and surrounding areas).
“According to the election procedures, the election of the members of the Upper House (Senate) will be implemented first,” the statement says, adding that elections will be held by the respective parliaments of the Federal Member States.
Mr Irro said the list of candidates for the Upper House will be produced by December 29.
“The election of the Upper House will have to be completed between 31st of December 2020 and 6th of January 2021,” reads the statement.
He added that the electoral team will start registration of candidates vying for the Lower House of the bicameral parliament from January 7, 2021, starting with the selection and training of the traditional clan elders and representatives of the civil society that will be engaged to select delegates.
“The selection and training will be executed according to the procedures of chosen election model,” the statement added.
The earlier agreed timeline scheduled the election of MPs and Senators to be done by the end of December 2020.
The committee said it is working in line with the September 17 agreement between Federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and the FMS presidents Said Deni of Puntland, Ahmed Qoorqoor of Galmudug, Mohamed Ware of Hirshabelle, Abdiaziz Laftagareen of South-West and Ahmed Islam Madobe of Jubbaland.
However, the process has been marred by controversy.
On Tuesday, just hours after the electoral team announced the timeline, a Council of the Opposition Presidential Candidates opposed the proposed schedule.
The Council, made up of more than a dozen presidential candidates, including former presidents Sheikh Sharif and Hassan Mohamoud and ex-Prime Minister Hassan Khaire, said “We blame President Farmaajo for encouraging an illegal election procedure.”
It accused Farmaajo of deliberately harming the democratic process Somalia ought to enjoy.
“The president is against all the suggestions announced by the opposition, the civil society and Somalia’s international partners voicing out that all election matters should be implemented through consensus,” the statement says.
The Spokesman of the Council of the Opposition Presidential Candidates, Mr Ridwan Hersi Mohamed, told the media that President Farmaajo will be responsible anything that happens as a result of the proposed schedule.