MOGADISHU, Somalia – It is now clear that Somalia will hold elections before the end of the year with them for speakers for the House of Representatives and the presidential election scheduled for February 2021, shows a new election calendar released by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and federal heads of state.
The agreement comes after months of talks constructed by Somalia’s international partners, which after all have not approved the agreement. It required local intervention and lobbying to have states like Jubaland and Northeastern State on the table after their leadership boycotted an initial deal released in Dhusamareb.
According to the schedule, which after all may not change, Upper House are lawmakers [Senators] will be elected by federal assemblies from Dec. 1 to 10 this year, while the House of Representatives’ vote will begin Dec. 10 to 27 in the same month, which presidential and assembly leadership will be determined in January and February next year.
The election will end protracted political squabbles between stakeholders, mainly the federal states, and the federal government of Somalia, which have been repeatedly accused of meddling and overtly violating the constitution.
Members of Parliament [Lower House] members are elected by stakeholders, no more than 101 from constituencies earmarked for clans. For the senators, the regional assemblies are already in place, so it will not be long before the results are gathered and declared, experts say.
Within the agreement, the leaders agreed to form a regional and federal election commission that will oversee the tedious election exercise. Upstairs, a 21-member independent dispute resolution commission will be set up to listen to complaints from candidates, election participants.
Of these members, 12 come from the federal states, 9 from the federal government. This Commission is expected to deal with disputes in a professional manner consistent with the rule of law.
And for those driving to the 54-member Upper House, should sign up by paying $ 20,000, which will help with logistics, while lower house aspirants will share with $ 10,000. The deal, however, does not say what plans are in place to counter alleged vote-buying practices that overshadowed the last election.
In order to qualify for approval in parliamentary votes, he or she must have, among others, be Somali, Muslim, be healthy and mentally fit and at least 25 years old, his or her citizenship rights not suspended by a court for the last 5 years and must have at least one high school or equivalent experience.
The seats are allocated based on the clan-based system, commonly known as the 4.5 model, which members of the international community had opposed. Somali politics is clan-based and thus the frequent intrigues that involve clans as they struggle to control the country’s leadership.
Of the 275 lower house members, each region gets specific slots based on the client dominance just like in the previous setup. This includes Northeastern State 37, Southwest 69, Jubbaland 43, Hirshabelle 38, Galmudug 37 Somaliland 46 and Banadir 5 according to the agreement signed by the leaders.
The leaders also revealed polling stations that will be used when the exercise starts. Somaliland, a region that withdrew from Somalia in 1991, wants elections in the capital Mogadishu just like the Banadir region, which is also located in the capital.
Polling stations per. Regions where MPs are elected include Northeastern State [Garowe and Bosaso], Galmudug [Dhusamareb and Galkayo], HirShabelle [Jowhar and Beledweyne], Southwest [Baidoa and Barawe]and Jubaland [Kismayo and Garbaharey].
For the most part, polling stations are the capitals of the federal states and the second largest cities in the respective regions.