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Somali Opposition Leaders Reject New Election Roadmap

FILE - Somali opposition leader and former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
FILE - Somali opposition leader and former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

A group of Somali opposition presidential candidates has rejected the government's plan for upcoming elections. The rejection could result in yet another delay for the Somali polls.

The opposition Council of Presidential Candidates, or CPS, released a statement Monday saying they reject a new election roadmap proposed by the federal government and regional leaders.

The opposition argues that the process would give five regional leaders too much power in selecting the electoral delegates who will choose 275 members of parliament.

Opposition leader Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said there is need for a clear path towards the process on who will select the delegates and whom they represent since the parliamentary polls is based on the 4.5 power sharing formula. The former head of state adds they don’t want another delay on the polls, which were already delayed twice before, and thus demands a clear timetable.

The 4.5 formula refers to a plan for sharing power among Somalia’s dominant clans.

The indirect election of the parliamentarians is scheduled to commence early next month before the crucial presidential poll on October 10th. But, analysts say this new stalemate will delay the presidential polll if not urgently resolved.

Abdifatah Hassan, a Somali political analyst, said the new grievance by the opposition members will further push back the process to an unspecified date. He recommends urgent dialogue by the political stakeholders to avoid another election setback in the fragile nation.

Somalia’s election process was originally scheduled to start last year, but has been repeatedly delayed by political disagreements, in spite of pressure from the international community.

In April, Somali lawmakers voted for an extension of the president’s mandate, only to reverse that decision in May following violent clashes between opposition and government supporters in the capital Mogadishu.