Somalia has extended the deadline for completing parliamentary elections for the umpteenth time, signalling further delays in the presidential vote.
The new target date has been set as March 15, 2022.
The decision came out of a virtual crisis meeting on Thursday, chaired by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble under the National Consultative Council (NCC), which also includes federal state presidents.
The meeting took place on the eve of February 25, the deadline set in January to have had polls for members of the House of the People, the Lower House of Somalia’s bicameral parliament concluded.
By Thursday, only 175 of the 275 MPs had been elected as federal states continued to haggle over venues, delegates and fairness of the polls.
After lengthy discussions, the NCC members said the new extension should enable the completion of voting for the remaining 100 seats.
The indirect election model chosen by the NCC in September 2020, hitherto chaired by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, stipulated that 101 delegates selected by respective clan leaders are to vote for each of the 275-member Lower House.
“Despite many hurdles on the way, we appreciate that 175 MPs, about 71 percent of the chamber, have been elected,” PM Roble said in a statement released by his office.
One of the regions experiencing delays is Jubbaland state, where authorities are yet to agree on venues for polls.
The NCC determined that PM Roble, in consultation with the presidents of federal states, would send a delegation to Jubbaland to seek a solution for Garbaharrey.
In the Jubbaland capital Kismayu, authorities have been suspicious of officials in Garbaharrey, the capital of Gedo, one of the state’s three regions, of being more loyal to Somalia President Farmaajo, which is causing differences that are hindering the election of 16 legislators allocated for the town.
The council also noted that no elections had been held in Bossaso, the commercial capital of Puntland.
The NCC’s resolution also reiterated the need to ensure that the women quota in the parliament, as previously agreed, reaches not less than 30 percent.
The NCC is chaired by PM Roble and includes presidents Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland, Ahmed Abdi Qoorqoor of Galmudug, Ali Hussein Gudlawe of Hirshabelle, Abdiaziz Mohamed Laftagareen of South West, and Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe of Jubbaland. The Mayor of Mogadishu Omar Mohamed Filish is also a member.