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Somalia's President Mohamed Farmaajo's term to extend by 2 years

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-04-13 18:15

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo. [Photo/Agencies]

Somalia's parliament has extended its mandate and that of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo by two years. The decision was reached on Monday after an emergency assembly of the lower house saw some 149 MPs vote to extend their mandate, with three voting against and one abstaining from the vote. However, local reports indicate that the upper house said the move was unconstitutional.

In line with the decision, Somalia's next elections will be held in two years and will be based on the one person, one vote election system. This is according to a resolution issued by Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman, the house speaker.

Farmaajo urged citizens to seize the historic chance to choose their destiny as the house of the people voted to return the elections mandate to the people in a statement released by the Somali presidency after the vote.

Somalia's government has been unable for months to reach agreement on how to carry out the election, with the regional states of Puntland and Jubbaland objecting to certain issues and the international community warning against holding a partial election. The crisis led to deadly violence against demonstrators who opposed an election delay.

On Sunday, the United Nations was joined by its international partners working to support a lasting peace and democratic election process across Somalia, in raising their concerns and calling on Somali leaders to prioritize the national interest and resolve their political impasse.

In a joint communique, the African Union, the European Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development and the United Nations reiterated their respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia but also called for an immediate return to dialogue.

"We underscore that the Sept 17, 2020 agreement remains the most viable path towards the holding of elections with the shortest delay possible, and urge the Federal Government and the Federal Member State leaders to review and validate the Feb 16, 2021 Baidoa Technical Committee recommendations and seek agreement through compromise on any outstanding issues necessary for rapid electoral implementation," the communique stated.

"We call upon Somali political leaders to continue the progress made in state-building and inclusive politics, especially elections and peaceful transition of power, and appeal to these leaders to deliver today on the vital interests of the Somali people for peaceful, free, fair, and credible elections. We urge all Somali leaders to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from any actions that may lead to an escalation of tensions."

The multilateral bodies also called on international partners to find new ways to help leaders reach agreement, and avoid any parallel process, partial elections, or new initiatives leading to any extension of prior mandates.

Somalia has seen political and election stalemate after the current president's mandate expired on Feb 8 and opposition leaders announced that they do not recognize him as president. The polls, originally scheduled to open late last year, never got off the ground because of disputes between political leaders on who would control the electoral process and the formation of the electoral management commission.

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