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Somalia sets yet another date for presidential vote

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A Somali woman votes last month

Mogadishu, Somalia | AFP | 

Somalia’s top political leaders have announced the presidential election will be held on December 28, the fourth date so far set to conclude drawn-out, delayed and limited polls.

The new timetable was laid out in a joint statement issued late Thursday by the government, the leaders of Somalia’s federal states and the election body.

It said parliamentary elections — under way since October — must be completed by December 14 with the election of speakers of the lower and upper houses on December 22 and the vote for a new president on December 28.

Somalia’s polls have been delayed and diminished.

The original promise of a one-person, one-vote national election was abandoned in 2015 due to insecurity, political infighting and lack of basic requirements such as an electoral roll.

Instead an electoral college system has been instituted whereby 135 traditional clan elders chose 14,025 delegates who are voting for each of the 275 parliamentary seats, distributed according to clan. The 54 seats in the new upper house were distributed by region.

The initial proposed date of August 2016 was missed with the presidential vote rescheduled for September 10, October 30, November 30 and now December 28.

Somalia’s international donors and backers are eager for the change of government to happen during this calendar year, allowing them to stick to the four-year presidential terms laid out in the country’s interim constitution.

The latest figures issued by the UN show that 212 out of 275 parliamentary seats and 43 out of 54 senate seats have been voted for. The process has been riddled with claims of rigging and corruption with some observers calling it an “auction” rather than an election.

 

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