Roundup: Somalia wraps up parliament leadership elections as focus turns to presidential vote

MOGADISHU, April 29– Somalia wrapped up leadership elections for the two chambers of Parliament on Thursday after more than a year of delays due to political differences and increased insecurity posed by al- Shabab terrorists. In his victory speech, the Speaker of the House of the People, Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nur noted the security and political challenges…

MOGADISHU, April 29 (Xinhua) — Somalia wrapped up leadership elections for the two chambers of Parliament on Thursday after more than a year of delays due to political differences and increased insecurity posed by al-Shabab terrorists.

The lawmakers on Tuesday elected Abdi Hashi Abdullahi as Speaker of the 54-member Senate or the Upper House and his two deputies while the 275-member Lower House elected Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nur as the speaker on Thursday.

In his victory, Abdullahi who lauded the senators for participating in the election reminded them of the duty to effectively draft laws to address national challenges.

“There are challenges our country faces, such as the prevailing drought situation. I am certain we will address these challenges since we have established the House leadership,” he said.

The senators were also elected.

In his victory speech, the Speaker of the House of the People, Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nur noted the security and political challenges facing Somalia and pledged to promote inclusive politics.

“We are committed to leading the country towards reforms, restoring order and ending the suffering of the Somali people,” he said on Thursday.

Somalia’s international partners on Thursday welcomed the successful elections for leadership positions in the Upper House and the House of the People.

“We congratulate the newly elected speakers and deputy speakers as they assume their important responsibilities at this critical moment for Somalia,” the partners including the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations among other Western nations said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

They said the election of the parliamentary leadership is a major achievement after the protracted delays and obstacles in choosing the members of parliament.

The partners, who have been pushing for the conclusion of the electoral process amid power struggle fears by Somali leaders, appreciated the efforts of all Somalis who contributed to completion of these parliamentary votes.

“We urge that the election of the President now be completed promptly, peacefully, and credibly, so that Somalia’s elected leaders can address national priorities for the benefit of all its citizens,” they said.

Focus now turns to the elections of the president in which the current incumbent Mohamed Farmajo is expected to seek his re-election for the second term in office.

Two former presidents and ex-prime minister including Puntland president Said Deni are expected to contest for the presidency.

Somalia on December 1, 2020 missed a deadline to hold its parliamentary elections which were due to begin as agreed by the government and six regional states in September 2020.

Parliamentary and presidential elections were to be held between December 2020 and February 2021, respectively but were delayed due to disputes over composition of the electoral commissions and increased insecurity.

Farmajo, whose term in office officially ended on February 8, 2021, has been under pressure after the election date passed without resolution of issues related to how the vote would have been conducted in Somalia.

The 54-member Senate and the 275 members of parliament from the Lower House are expected to jointly elect a new president in an indirect vote in Mogadishu in May but no date has been set so far.

Somalia last held one-person, one-vote elections in March 1969 when the government was overthrown in a military coup. Parliamentary and presidential elections took place in late 2016 and early 2017 through a system of indirect suffrage. Enditem

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