MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Independent National Electoral Commission [NIEC] Halima Ismael chair [Halima Yarey] will address the parliament on Saturday, with legislation favorable to the upcoming elections being one of the agendas, on an occasion that would define the future of Somalia, particularly the country’s political landscape.
With the mandate of the current Parliament and the executive due to expire in October, the NIEC is mandated to hold elections, but it has trouble finding an agreeable date and model, which again raises questions about the state of preparation.
Among other things, Ms. Ismael will propose the calendar of legislative and presidential elections in addition to proposing the best model for polls. The model has been challenged by key stakeholders in the past.
Although NIEC hinted at universal suffrage, a section of opposition politicians broke through the system, with some arguing that the remaining period would not adequately prepare for free and fair elections.
Instead, Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, the leader of the Wadajir party, said that NIEC should consider the one-person-by-one model in the next election, but for now focus on the clan-based system. commonly known as model 4.5.
Apparently, the majority of Somalia’s international partners, including the United States, Britain and the European Union, have endorsed the model of universal suffrage, which NIEC has failed to implement. However, the country has not yet started voter registration.
Significantly, the NIEC will also table proposals for women, the representations of Benadir and Somaliland in parliament. The implementation of the 30% quota system for the representation of women is one of the main objectives of the committee.
The Lower House has already adopted a number of laws, including the representations expected for the regions of Benadir and Somaliland, the Chamber also approving a 30% quota for the representation of women on the basis of the report which was tabled by the ad hoc parliamentary committee on elections.
However, Senate Speaker Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, who had appointed a committee to formally negotiate peace between the FGS and the federal states, rejected legislation passed by the lower house as “false and manipulated”.
Curiously, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo had agreed with regional leaders earlier this week to temporarily suspend the ongoing debate on the electoral law until a dialogue takes place between the two. Villa Somalia has set July 5-8 as confidence dates.
In Parliament, Ms. Ismael should also convince the country that the next elections will be credible. Previously, elections in Somalia have been chaotic, corruption, fraud, intimidation and violence have overshadowed the exercise.
Heritage Institute, a Somalia-based think tank, insists that “the technical preparation required for an election by universal suffrage is also not available”. The new law, she adds, “infuses modern democratic standards with traditional power-sharing principles, calls for the use of a biometric system”.
There will be no voter registration available and with only six months to go to advance polls, the Think Tank insists that it is virtually impossible for NIEC to organize universal suffrage ballots, adding that this decision could plunge the country into unprecedented chaos.
“It will be difficult, if not impossible, for the Independent National Electoral Commission [NIEC] to raise the necessary funds, buy the equipment and develop the capacity to operate it in the eight months remaining before the elections, “the group said in a report.” Given the short time remaining, stakeholders must find common ground on the model election. ”
In addition to the chaos, according to the Institute, elections by universal suffrage could lead to an unnecessary extension of the mandate due to the limited time. HIPS last month recommended an expanded model that could accommodate up to 221,000 voters in the five states, up from 14,025 currently.
“The unintended consequence – or perhaps the expected consequence of not doing so is an extension of the current administration’s mandate,” “said the Institute, adding that the planned dialogue should take place as soon as possible on the model.