MOGADISHU, Somalia – An independent political group in Somalia has ruled out the possibility of holding the very first elections by universal suffrage, a move that could shift the current debate to a model, which should replace the traditional clan system commonly known as 4.5.
Earlier this year, Federal President Mohamed Abdullahi sanctioned a contentious electoral bill, which sparked reprisals from federal states and sections of the opposition team, who questioned the legitimacy of the law and its feasibility.
The United States and the European Union are the main supporters of universal suffrage, which they say would “broaden the right to vote and restore democracy” in a country that has struggled for decades against inter-clan conflict and violent extremism.
For example, while the EU recognizes that the federal government and member states should reach consensus on issues that undermine national unity, the team has, however, been consistent in seeking one-on-one surveys by vote later in December.
“The EU extracts from exchanges with the leaders of the FMS a real desire by all to engage in an in-depth dialogue with the federal authorities,” said Nicolas Berlanga, the EU envoy to Somalia. “The political agreement between the leaders will guarantee national elections and the refocusing of security efforts against Al Shabaab.”
But according to the Heritage Institute of Policy Studies, an independent think-tank on Somali issues, the win-all model would be impractical given the “short” time before the Horn of Africa nation organizes polls to replace leadership current, whose mandate expires in October.
Besides the short duration, the institute, of which director Abdirashid Hashi is a former employee of Villa Somalia, insists that the financial obligations for the surveys cannot be met by the federal government and the member states, which are parties key stakeholders in Somali affairs.
“Insecurity remains a pervasive problem across the country, while the financial envelope necessary to organize universal suffrage would be too large for the FGS and the federal member states,” we read in the latest Think Tank proposal.
The Independent National Election Commission [NIEC] has crisscrossed the country in the latest attempt to gather public opinion on essential supporting legislation, which should guide voting and the election of representatives. Most Somali actors have pledged to support the process.
However, the institute argues that the controversy surrounding the electoral law could significantly affect the outcome if the organizers go ahead with their plans, adding that this decision could plunge the country into unfathomable chaos, the consequences of which would undermine the gains made far away in Somalia.
Among other things, they insist, the law does not define measures to identify constituencies in accordance with existing democratic virtues, which gives priority to the traditional clan model. In addition, they added, under the law, the country cannot obtain the quota of 30% of female representatives.
The representation of the region of Banadir, where the capital is located, Mogadishu, and of secessionist Somaliland, were not enshrined in law. This, according to the Policy Institute, would be greatly affected by the short duration, thus making the processes impractical.
“In addition, the technical preparation required for an election by universal suffrage is also not available. The new law, which infuses modern democratic standards with traditional power-sharing principles, calls for the use of a biometric system “reads the policy document.
“It will be difficult, if not impossible, for the Independent National Electoral Commission [NIEC] raise funds
necessary, purchase equipment and develop the capacity to operate it in the eight months remaining before the election. ”
If the organizers continued preparations, the institute said, the eagerly awaited elections could be affected, a decision that could spark endless political intrigue, which could plunge the country into unnecessary setbacks.
For example, adds the institute, the current mandate of the executive and parliament could end up being extended, a decision that would have a negative effect on the quest for the restoration of normality in Somalia, more than three decades after the overthrow of the government. dictator Siad Barre.
And to avoid such a scenario, the Think Tank now says that the federal government and member states as well as other stakeholders should urgently initiate a dialogue and find a practical solution to the current deadlock, but strictly respecting the principles democratic.
Any electoral model adopted, recommends the Institute, should respect two principles: first, it must lay the foundations for an election by universal suffrage, and second, all the actors concerned must support it.
For them, the broader participation model would be common ground for Somalia at this point, arguing that it would allow the country to increase the number of voters from the current 14,025 to around 221,000, rather than The whole population participates in the midst of insufficient preparations.
According to this model, he says, each MP should be submitted to 1,000 voters, a scenario that should be repeated in all states. For example, the southwest with 69 MPs should have 69,000 voters, Puntland 40,000, Jubaland 39,000, Galmadug 36,000 and HirShabelle 37,000.
“The EPM predicts that the more people who vote, the stronger the integrity of the elections and the less money changes hands. The proposed EPM option will also help to respect the quota of women in Parliament as well as the representation in Somaliland, “adds the institute. .