MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s federal and regional leaders have agreed on Thursday to hold free and fair elections within 60 days and signed an agreement ending months-long political stalemate in a ceremony attended by hundreds of people, including government officials, foreign diplomats and opposition leaders.
Somali prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said he is committed to free and fair elections after signing the agreement on Thursday, urging other political stakeholders to play a pivotal role in implementing the terms of the deal.
“My government and I are committed to implementing a free and fair indirect election. We are all responsible to ensure women get their 30 percent quota. I urge all state presidents to facilitate and implement this,” the prime minister said.
Parliamentary and presidential elections were meant to have been held between December 2020 and February 2021 but have been delayed by a dispute between the government and regional state leaders over electoral boards allegedly packed with allies of the outgoing president president, tensions over control of polls venues in Gedo region and the process in which elders would select MPs from Somaliland.
The delays prompted political crisis and violence in the capital after opposition-aligned forces and supporters of the outgoing president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed – better known as Farmajo – fought in the streets of Mogadishu, forcing thousands of families to flee the city.
The agreement requires elections to be held within 60 days, with each region conducting the vote in two venues. AMISOM police will be deployed to Garbaharey town, which had been an epicenter of dispute between the two sides and led to the collapse of talks previously.
“My dear brothers, politicians, whatever you need is in front of me. Do not search in other places. Let’s all forgive one another, and I ask you to forgive me,” Roble said.
Somalia initially planned to hold its first direct election since the country’s central government collapsed in 1991, but dispute between Somali leaders and continues attacks by the militant group Al-Shabaab have forced it to reverse previous commitments.
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