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Somalia: Leaders agree to hold general elections this year

Somalia: Leaders agree to hold general elections this year

Somalia

Somali leaders met for a three-day conference in Mogadishu, where they consented to holding a general election later this year, Kenya’s Daily Nation reports.

During the conference that ended on Tuesday, regional states and the central government officials reiterated their commitment to a no extension of the terms of the legislative and the Federal Government beyond August 2016.

The presidents of the semi-autonomous states of Puntland, Galmudug, Southwest and Jubaland also took part in the conference, where they also agreed on an electoral process for a parliament composed of Upper and Lower houses.

The new parliament will consist of a 275-seat lower house and an upper chamber of 54 members. The lower house will be elected based on a power-sharing formula between clans.

Last year, Somalia declared that the one-man, one-vote system was not achievable due to various factors including insecurity, the leaders chose alternative modalities to select a 54-member Upper House and a 275-member Lower House.

According to a communique released later at Villa Somalia, the state house in Mogadishu, a federal and state level electoral teams will coordinate the process, .the Daily Nation further reports

The paper adds that the members of the Lower House will be picked through a clan-power sharing known as the 4.5 formula, giving the four major groups equal share, while a coalition of smaller ones will share half the allocation.

The communique read: “Each candidate will be elected by an Electoral College of 50 members. Therefore, the total electorate will be 275 MPs x 50 = 13,750.” It added: “The federal and regional administrations will approve the members of the Upper House.”

Somalia is struggling to return to representative rule after flushing out Al Shabaab Islamists from Mogadishu in mid 2011.

The extremists have been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu, and have been carrying out regular attacks in the capital, as well as against African Union troops in the countryside.

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