Somali lawmakers have set May 15th as the date they will select the country’s next president.
The presidential election committee, which includes 17 members from both houses of parliament, met in Mogadishu on Thursday and agreed on the date for the election.
In a vote by a show of hands, the members of the committee chose lawmaker Abdiqani Ugas as the chairman of the Presidential Election Committee, and lawmaker Mohamed Kerow as its deputy chairman.
The committee decided to hold the election on May 15th, just two days prior to the deadline set by international donors to cut their funding unless a new Somali government is formed.
In a brief statement, the deputy speaker of the upper house, Ali Shacban, said that this marks a step forward in completing one of the last duties of parliament -- to elect the president.
He said, obviously, our agenda was to elect the committee overseeing the election of the president and to set the date for the election. In the end, he said, “God made it easier for us, and now you can see how well we did.”
The presidential election has been delayed for more than a year because of political disputes that dragged out the process of electing members of parliament.
Last year, lawmakers tried to extend the term of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed by two years but reversed their decision under strong international pressure.
About a dozen candidates are expected to seek the presidency, including the incumbent, two former presidents and former prime minister, Hassan Ali Kheyre.