U.N. praises Somalia deal on model for electoral process


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised an agreement by Somalia’s government on Thursday on a model for the electoral process to establish a new, bicameral federal parliament in 2016, a U.N. spokesman said.

“He particularly applauds the commitment to representation of women and minority groups, including that women will comprise 30 percent of the next parliament,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

U.N. special envoy to Somalia, Michael Keating, said the model envisages a lower house of 275 members, based on a current power-sharing formula between clans, and an upper house of 54 members, based on equal representation of existing, emerging and prospective federal states and an allocation of additional seats to breakaway regions of Somaliland and Puntland.
“This is the culmination of almost six months of intense consultations,” Keating told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday. “It may be a watershed moment, marking the growing political maturity of a federal Somalia.”

After the optimism that followed the 2012 election many diplomats had hoped for a “one person, one vote” system in 2016, but progress has been dented by frequent attacks by al Shabaab militants, as well as political infighting and corruption.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in July that the country would not be able to hold a popular vote for its planned 2016 elections.

In Somalia 2012 elections, members of parliament were chosen by elders and then those lawmakers chose Mohamud as president. It was Somalia’s first election since 1991, when warlords ousted president Mohamed Siad Barre, plunging the country into years of war and chaos.