Somali Presidential Election Postponed
2:30pm: The election of a new Somali president will not take place Monday as scheduled, newly appointed lawmakers said, but added they expected to convene the parliament for the first time later in the day, reports AP.
"The presidential elections will not be held today," said lawmaker Aweys Qarni. "The election committee must still be convened.... There is still work to go before the presidential elections."
War-torn Somalia's Western-backed transitional government ends its mandate on Monday after eight years of political infighting and rampant corruption.
It is being replaced by new lawmakers selected by a group of 135 traditional elders in a United Nations-backed process, the latest bid to bring stability to the Horn of Africa country.
Somalia has not had a stable central government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, which unleashed a bloody civil war and two decades of chaos.
"We are preparing for the first gathering of the new parliament today," said Abinasir Garale, a lawmaker newly re-elected to parliament.
"In coming days the new parliament will select a speaker, and they will organise the election committee for the new president," he said, adding that it was expected the eldest member would chair the meeting until elections were held.
Despite delays in the process of forming a new government, it was hailed as an "unprecedented opportunity for greater peace and stability" in a joint statement from the African Union, European Union, US and UN issued Sunday.
"The conclusion of the transition should mark the beginning of more representative government in Somalia," added the statement, also signed by Norway, Turkey and East Africa's main diplomatic body IGAD, among others.
Analysts have posed a far gloomier outlook on the process, suggesting it offers little but a reshuffling of positions.
The names of more than 200 new lawmakers chosen by a "technical selection committee" from a list prepared by clan elders were published Friday.
The remaining 75 names were still pending at the weekend "because of inter-clan argument and other reasons related to a lack of fulfilment of the conditions," according to committee co-chair Halimo Yarey.
Some 70 nominees were rejected because they did not meet the requirements to serve in parliament.
Lawmakers must be Somali citizens of sound mind, have a high school diploma and be free of ties to warlords or links to atrocities committed during the civil war.
"The presidential elections will not be held today," said lawmaker Aweys Qarni. "The election committee must still be convened.... There is still work to go before the presidential elections." Other lawmakers confirmed the delay.
9:00am: Security is water-tight in Mogadishu as the Somalia Parliament moves to elect its president, marking an end of an eight-year transitional government.
The Parliament will name the President a few hours from now after a ballot box voting exercise.
Heavily armed military personnel are patrolling the streets of Mogadishu to tighten security.
Military choppers are also combing the skies to avert any possible attack on Parliament that could sabotage the exercise.
Outgoing Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed who has been in power since 2009, is seen as a favourite for the highly contested job.
He faces stiff competition from Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and parliamentary speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.
On Sunday night, the International Community Partners issued a statement, urging all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful transition of power.
On the eve of Transition in Somalia, the AU, IGAD and UN together with other members of the international community, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, EU, Italy, Norway, Turkey, UK, US and representatives of the International Observers of the Technical Selection Committee (TSC), are in Mogadishu to reaffirm their support and commitment to the efforts of all involved in the Transitional process.
“We are in Mogadishu to show support because, finally, this is where the future of Somalia is being decided by Somalis. The international community welcomes the important progress that Somalia’s leaders and people have made in getting to this stage,” the group said in a statement.
Despite significant challenges, the process has ensured the selection of elders, the convening of the National Constituent Assembly, and the adoption of the Provisional Constitution through a representative and transparent process taking place inside Somalia for the first time in twenty years.
Somalia faces an unprecedented opportunity for greater peace and stability, thanks to the commitment of Somalia’s leaders and the courage, dedication and sacrifice of the Somali National Army and AMISOM.
The international community urged all the signatories to sustain their commitment to deliver a peaceful transition on time and in line with the expectations of the UNSC, AU, IGAD and the recent international meetings in London, Istanbul and Rome – that the Signatories should work together and will be held accountable for completing the process which they have agreed.
It also expressed confidence that conditions exist for Parliament to meet to begin its work and that this could occur as early as 20th August.
The vast majority of the members of the new Federal Parliament have now been nominated and vetted by the TSC.
It’s anticipated that the full 275 membership can be achieved quickly, including the fulfillment of the quota for women’s’ representation, and the election of a Speaker and President fulfilled.
The international community further applauded the patriotism, integrity and tireless efforts of the Technical Selection Committee who are charged with vetting the parliamentary nominations and for their courage in ensuring the propriety of the process.
All parties are urged to let the TSC complete its task without fear or hindrance.
In some cases, nominees have been rejected by the Technical Selection Committee which is acting in accordance with the Garowe Principles. In this regard, it is crucial that the TSC’s review procedures be respected, including the process for the Elders to reconsider their nominations.
The conclusion of the Transition will mark the beginning of more representative government in Somalia.
Whilst Parliament remains a selected rather than elected body, it is essential that it cuts its ties with the past of self-interest and warlordism, and is populated by a new generation of Somali politicians, including the proper representation of Somali women.
Rate this article
Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
|We Buy||We Sell|
|Cash||South African Rand||280||295|