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Somali Leaders Reach Agreement on Election Framework

FILE - Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Nov. 17, 2015.

National and regional leaders in Somalia have ended three days of talks in the capital Mogadishu on how best to hold elections in 2016.

The leaders decided to dissolve the government next September but are not prohibiting President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the 275 members of parliament from seeking re-election.

The assembly also decided the next election model will be based on a combination of district and clan process, a comprise that emerged because the country’s main regions are split on whether to task responsibility of electing the lawmakers to clan elders or district representatives.

Somalia's first government, after a prolonged civil war, was chosen by 135 clan leaders who met in Mogadishu in 2012.

The United Nations Envoy to Somalia, Nick Kay, told the Somali leaders that this time the process must include “an element of choice.”

“No more nominations of MPs [members of parliament]. There must be an opportunity for some people to vote for a choice of candidates…it brings the process closer to the people,” he said.

Mohamud said the agreement reached in Mogadishu was one of compromise, with each side getting some of what it wanted.

“I want to tell the Somali people that no one should expect to get everything they want," he said. "Also, no one should be afraid if what they wanted is missing and was not included.”

He said the leaders will meet again in the town of Kismayo on January 10 to iron out final issues.