Agreement on Somali elections


Somalia’s political leaders reached an agreement paving the way for elections, the foreign affairs minister said, ending months of deadlock that at times turned violent.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s term expired in February, but election wrangling meant a new group of lawmakers was not selected in December to choose a new president.

To resolve the deadlock, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble met with presidents of five regions to address concerns over the election’s conduct.

“We have reached an agreement that will lead Somalia to free and fair elections. Going forward Somalia needs to have a predictable transition based on elections that are inclusive, credible, free and fair,” Abdirizak Mohamed said during a UN meeting on Somalia.

“This is a challenge and opportunity which the Somali people, government and partners must capitalise on to ensure sustainable development and country.”

Foreign Minister Mohamed said sticking points resolved were the formation of an election committee, whose absence prevented the election of new legislators in December.

In April, the lower house of parliament voted to extend the president’s four-year term by two years. The Senate rejected the move, provoking a political crisis.

The political crisis raised fears al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents could exploit a security vacuum if state forces split along clan lines and turned on each other.

In late April, troops opposed to President Mohamed’s term extension briefly seized key points in the capital, raising fears of  disintegration of the national army along clan lines.

Soldiers since returned to barracks.