Somalia: Prime Minister holds first meeting with foreign diplomats

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The new Prime Minister of Somalia, Mohamed Hussein Roble, held his first meeting with foreign diplomats based in Mogadishu, barely a day after taking office.

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The introductory meeting that took place at the Prime Minister’s office in Mogadishu on Monday focused on partnership in achieving national priorities, including the upcoming elections and other key issues.

The Ambassadors, EU, UN and AU representatives expressed their support for the Prime Minister and wished him success in the daunting tasks ahead and praised for prioritizing security, elections and financial reform.

Last week, diplomats issued a joint statement expressing regret for the announced electoral model which falls short of Somalia’s long-standing goal of voting directly for parliamentarians.

The new agreement stipulates that 101 electoral delegates will elect deputies in two constituencies in each federal member state. These delegates will be selected jointly by the traditional elders, civil society and the FMS.

The support of the international community for Somalia is very critical during this electoral period in order to control security and prepare a peaceful environment for the holding of elections in 2020-2021.

Three previous elections in 2009, 2012 and 2017 were decided in a system where lawmakers were voted on by around 14,000 clan delegates. Lawmakers then elected a president. The clan-based electoral system has been widely criticized for marginalizing youth, women, and ethnic minorities.

This model, which was meant to be a temporary measure to alleviate clan conflict, has become an endless problem in the Horn of Africa nation which was plagued by decades of war and instability.

This week, parliament unanimously approved an electoral agreement signed in Mogadishu on September 17 between Farmajo and the leaders of the federal states, which resulted in years of political conflict.

Roble, 57, a former ILO worker and new to politics, is committed to forming an effective government that will address the challenges facing the country, including by holding timely parliamentary and presidential elections.

Preparations for the elections come at a difficult time. While AMISOM has been mandated to help the Somali government prepare for the elections and also provide security during the voting process, the troops are at the same time reducing their presence in the country.

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