Somalia to Begin Lower House of Parliament Elections Next Week

Somalia deputy PM

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – The election of Somalia’s Lower House of Parliament is due to begin next week, Somali deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled said, urging the Horn of Africa country’s regional states to complete the long-delayed votes in December.

Speaking at a ceremony held in Mogadishu on Saturday night, Guled said a vote for candidates vying for parliamentary seats allocated for the break-away state would begin, in an attempt to take further steps towards a peaceful transfer of power in the war-torn nation.

The move could galvanize efforts to complete the long-delayed polls and end prolonged tensions, he added.

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble welcomed the remarks by the his deputy and called on the regional presidents to complete the list of candidates for Upper House of Parliament and go ahead with plans to hold Lower House polls.

Regional leaders are hesitating to conduct the elections amid mounting pressure from the international community. Puntland leader is busy on a campaign for local government elections while the president of the neighboring region of Galmudug is planning to launch an offensive against Ahlu Sunnah fighters, in a bid to retake a town that had been captured by the Sufi group weeks ago. Both leaders have not shown willingness to hold the vote.

Jubaland leader Ahmed Madobe is insisting that one of the main articles of September 17 agreement concerning towns hosting the polls be changed and wants that the vote take place in Kismayo, though the deal states that it should be held both in the coastal town and Garbaharey, which is under the control of pro-Farmajo forces.

Contrary to Madobe’s ambition, Southwest president Abdiasis Laftagaren – a key ally of Somalia’s presient – is in a strong position against any change in the deal and plans to hold the vote in two cities under his administration.

Somalia’s presidential vote was meant to be held on October, but was delayed with regions still unable to complete elections for members of parliament, who would then choose the president.

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