Somalia Postpones Elections That Were Set To Begin On Sunday
After months of political turmoil in the profoundly dangerous Horn of Africa country, Somalia has postponed elections that were set to begin on Sunday, officials told AFP.
Indirect parliamentary and presidential elections were set to begin on July 25, with state delegates voting for the upper house for four days. On October 10, the election cycle was set to come to a close with a presidential election.
“Even though the idea was for the upper house election to begin today in the various states,” a member of the electoral commission told AFP on condition of anonymity, “there is a delay, and the poll may not take place as planned.”
The reason for the delay was that federal areas were unable to submit candidate lists on time or organize local committees to cast ballots, according to the source.
Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu, a spokesman for the federal administration, told AFP that the polls had been “delayed,” but did not elaborate.
Last week, Al-Shabaab jihadists in the country advised lawmakers against participating in the polls, which were set to begin after months of impasse and postponement.
The warning, made in an audio clip apparently recorded by Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah, highlights the country’s electoral security challenges.
Since 2007, the Al-Qaeda-linked organisation has been attempting to destabilize the federal government by attacking government, security, and civilian targets.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and the leaders of Somalia’s five states were unable to agree on the parameters of a vote before his tenure expired in February, resulting in an unprecedented constitutional crisis.
After months of impasse, which at times became violent, the political leaders eventually agreed on a voting schedule last month.
Delegates from the five federal states, chosen by various clans within each state, elect MPs, who subsequently pick a president, according to the agreed-upon plan. The procedure was set to begin on Sunday.
According to multiple individuals who talked to AFP, Jubaland was the only state capable of holding a referendum “within the week.” According to one source, the state has already selected its delegate committee and may release a list of candidates “within the week.”
Mohamed Adan, a prominent government official in Jubaland, said, “We expect the election to take place shortly.” According to another source, the state’s election could begin later on Sunday.
Elections in Puntland state have been postponed, according to AFP sources. Brief News from Washington Newsday.