Somalia – Upcoming Elections

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The government moves towards party politics in a bid to put an end to clan factionalism. 

According to a recent forum of regional and national leaders, members of Somalia’s new parliament must join a political party within two years or step down, as the country seeks to move away from clan-based politics, which has largely fuelled more than two decades of conflict in the country.

Elections for a new President will be held in October 2016 when 275 members of the lower house of parliament will also be chosen by around 14,000 people, in turn will be chosen by elders from major clans. While only a small part of the total 11 million people in the country, in 2012 the parliament was chosen by just 135 elders.

“The leaders of the National Leadership Forum agreed to promote the establishment and registration of political parties within two years, starting from the date when the 10th parliament is elected,” the forum said after a week-long meeting.

Many diplomats have been pushing for the elections are recurrent delays; the term of the existing parliament ends on August 20th while the President’s term expires on September 9th, reported Reuters.

The country continues to face widespread security risks from the Al-Shabaab group; between August 10-13th Somali commandos and US Special Forces killed 30 Al-Shabaab militants in the Middle Juba region near to the Kenyan border. Among those killed were senior commanders including Abu Ubeida the Al-Shabaab leader in Southern Somalia, reported Shabelle Media Network.

Somalia was plunged into civil war in the early 1990s following the toppling of dictator Siad Barre and has not held elections for several decades.

Current President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is standing for re-election alongside an as-yet-undetermined number of opponents, including Fadumo Dayib, a Finnish citizen who is aiming to become the first female leader in the country, reported Newsweek.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon emphasised, “the importance of Somalia’s 2016 electoral process being conducted in a transparent, credible and inclusive manner, and in a climate of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” reported the UN News Centre.

At the same time, amidst peace talks between the Somaliland, Puntland and a self declared Khaatumo administration in the Northern Sool region, an amnesty has been agreed for Somaliland politicians in the capital Mogadishu, reported Garowe Online. Politicians had previously been unable to travel from the autonomous regions to the capital.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin:

SOMALIA: Electoral Commission
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.53, Issue.7, Pp.21069A–21069B

SOMALIA: Suicide Bombers Target AMISOM HQ
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.53, Issue.7, Pp.21083A–21085A

SOMALIA: Elections Planned
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.53, Issue.6, Pp.21032B–21033A

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