Elections of members of the Lower House will start next week, Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said.
The breakaway northwestern region of Somaliland is expected to elect 46 lawmakers, PM Roble said on Sunday.
He said he had agreed with leaders of Somaliland political groups in Mogadishu – Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, the speaker of the outgoing Upper House (Senate), and Mahdi Mohamed Guled, the deputy prime minister – on holding elections.
Once the indirect election of Somalia’s 275 legislators is completed, they are expected to pick a federal president in a joint session with the 54 members of the Senate.
The presidential poll had been scheduled for October 10, but not even the election of senators was concluded. Some 48 senators were elected and six seats remain unfilled – four for Jubbaland state and two for Galmudug.
Although elections to the Lower House (House of the People) have been delayed several times, security has now been beefed up for the polls in all the constituencies.
Personnel from the Somali police force and the police division of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) have been deployed in several towns including Beletweyne, Barawe and Dusamareb to maintain peace.
PM Roble exuded confidence that a parliament will be in place to take over the basic functions of government. “I want to witness a new legislative body rapidly formed while I emerge clean in an election that is free from clashes,” he said.
The United States recently urged Somali leaders to accelerate the elections so as to save the Horn of Africa country from political mayhem.
Over the past two months, the elections were delayed largely as a result of squabbles between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and PM Roble.
Somalia’s foreign minister, Abdirizak Mohamed, on a visit to the US, met with the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Mary Catherine Phee, and they agreed that the elections should be held within an acceptable timeline.
Last Thursday, Phee said, “I am delighted to have received today Abdirizak Mohamed at the State Department, where I stressed that the National Consultative Council (NCC) of Somalia must complete elections this year.
”Having failed to hold one man, one vote universal suffrage, the NCC – a body made up of the Federal Government of Somalia, leaders of federal states and the mayor of Mogadishu – had agreed indirect voting would be held on September 17, 2020.
In the clan-based indirect electoral system, the 54 senators are elected by the parliaments of federal states and legislators of the Lower House are elected by 101 delegates from the respective clans.