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UN not happy with delay of Somalia vote

Sunday August 21 2016

Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks at a past event. PHOTO | SALATON NAJU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks at a past event. PHOTO | SALATON NAJU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

AFP
By AFP
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UNITED NATIONS, Saturday

The UN Security Council has expressed disappointment that elections in Somalia were delayed and urged the government to stick to the new timetable.

Somalia, which was to hold national elections this year, has instead scheduled a limited franchise poll in which ordinary citizens do not participate.

The UN-sponsored election team recently announced a delayed presidential vote on October 30, following parliamentary elections from September 24 to October 10.

The votes were to take place this month.

In an unanimously approved statement, the Security Council stressed the importance of Somalia preserving the momentum seen in political and security progress since 2012, when the last polls were held.

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“The Security Council regrets the delay to the original timeline and calls on Somali stakeholders to work constructively to implement the revised calendar without further delay,” the statement said.

“The Council underscores the need to maintain the momentum toward democratic governance, with an inclusive, transparent and credible electoral process in 2016 as a stepping stone to universal suffrage elections in 2020.”

The 15-nation council welcomed the government’s decision to allow representation of minority clans in the electoral process.

It noted the commitment to reserve a big percentage of the seats in the upper and lower chambers of parliament for women.

Clan elders will select parliamentarians, while each of Somalia’s federal states will choose representatives to a new upper house.

The two houses of parliament will then vote for a president.

Incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has begun campaigning for a second term.

The election will not be the one-person, one-vote process that is promised in the constitution. But it is viewed as paving the way for that, and much more inclusive than the 2012 vote, when only 135 clan chiefs participated.

Somalia sank into war in 1991 when President Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted.

The country’s security situation remains troubled, largely due to Al-Shabaab radical Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda who are fighting to overthrow the government.