Somali leaders urged to embrace consensus to complete electoral process

Mogadishu, Apr 5 (Xinhua) Somalia’s international allies on Tuesday called on leaders to negotiate and adopt consensus in a last-ditch effort to complete the electoral process.

Partners including the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations, among other Western countries, said they are encouraged that more than 91 percent of House of the People seats are now elected. “We believe this represents an unstoppable momentum to fill the remaining seats very soon,” the partners said in a joint statement issued in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

Only two regional states – Hirschbele and Jubaland – have not yet completed the electoral process for the Lok Sabha.

The partners called on leaders to prioritize the dialogue and consultation needed to dismantle the electoral system – particularly in Jubaland – to ensure that relevant communities are represented in the next parliament.

With the focus now on convening parliament in Mogadishu and electing parliamentary speakers and then a national president, the partners urged political leaders to ensure that the process reflects broad consensus.

This, he said, is particularly important for decisions on location, security protocols and anti-corruption measures for Parliament’s election-related meetings.

“It is important that the arrangements in this final phase of the electoral process have strong support across the political spectrum and produce an outcome that is considered valid by all,” participants said ahead of the April 14 exercise.

The partners urged that preparations for the April 14 swearing-in proceed at speed, while work continues to resolve other outstanding issues and complete the remaining seats in Hirschbell and Jubaland.

The completion of the electoral process would allow Somalia to address other urgent national priorities, such as responding to a devastating drought and building security and prosperity for years to come, participants said.

However, he expressed regret over the many electoral irregularities witnessed across the country and the dismal failure to achieve the 30 per cent quota for representation of women in Parliament required by the agreement of September 17, 2020.

The 54-member Senate and 275 members of parliament from the lower house combined are expected to elect a new president later in 2022.

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