Somalia to hold presidential election on May 15

Presidential elections will be held in Somalia on May 15, state TV announced on Thursday, broadcasting a statement from a parliamentary committee tasked with conducting long-delayed elections in the fragile Horn of Africa nation.

The election, held more than a year ahead of schedule, is marred by deadly violence as well as a power struggle between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Pharmajo, and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Robal.

Somalia’s international partners are pushing to speed up the process, fearing delays in efforts to tackle complex problems, including the fight against al-Shabaab jihadists and the threat of famine.

Parliament Election Committee member Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu said in a Facebook post on Thursday: “Keeping in mind the current circumstances of the country, members have recognized May 15 as the day of the presidential election.”

A three-year $400 million (380 million euro) aid package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will automatically expire by mid-May if there is no new administration by then, a move that will sink the country. deep danger.

After Farmajo’s term ended without a fresh vote in February 2021, he attempted to extend his rule by decree, triggering violent street fighting in Mogadishu as rival factions clashed.

After international pressure, he appointed Roble to seek consensus on the way forward.

But the process has progressed painfully, raising fears of further instability.

In addition to the tussle between Pharmazo and Roble, the central government is also embroiled in disputes with some states, which have slowed down the voting process.

deadly attack
Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab, which has been fighting the government for more than a decade, has carried out repeated attacks in recent months, including a suicide bombing in March that killed two local lawmakers Was.

According to Burundi’s military, 10 Burundi peacekeepers were killed in an attack on an African Union (AU) base on Tuesday. It was the deadliest attack on AU forces in the country since 2015.

As the militants intensify their attacks, the rift between Firmazo and Robal continues to widen, with last week’s election of the speaker of the lower house delayed over disputes over who should provide security at the polling place.

Meanwhile, the country grapples with a severe drought that threatens to push millions of people into famine, with young children facing the greatest risk.

Thursday’s announcement “will come as a huge relief to most Somalis and their international partners, as it signals the end of an election cycle that has been dragged on for too long and deviates from other priorities,” said Omar Mahmoud. Said, an analyst at the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank.

“The rapid pace of development over the past few weeks clearly points to the momentum and the desire to reconcile it all,” Mahmoud told AFP.

One person, one vote has not been elected in Somalia in 50 years. Elections follow a complex indirect model, whereby the state legislature and clan representatives elect MPs to the national parliament, who in turn choose the president.

Al-Shabaab jihadists controlled Mogadishu until 2011, when they were ousted by AU forces, but still occupy rural areas.

Terrorists regularly attack civilian, military and government targets in Somalia’s capital and elsewhere in the country.

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