Somalia kicks off long-awaited elections amid crisis


MOGADISHU, Somalia – Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Gulaid was elected to parliament on Monday as Somaliland’s elections for members of the Lower House kicked off at the Kahiye General Police Academy in Mogadishu, becoming the first person to be elected to the House low.

Somaliland, which claims to have seceded from Somalia, is allocated 46 seats in the lower house along with 11 senators. Elections for the region are usually held in Mogadishu as the region has consistently refused to work with the federal government.

In the tough contest, Mahdi Gulaid was the first to be elected with 97 votes, beating his closest Challenger Mushtaq Ibrahim Yusuf got just three votes. Both are making their voices heard in North Western of Somaliapolitics with outgoing Senate Speaker Abdi Hashi.

Former MP Hussein Arab Isse claimed on Friday that he had been excluded from the race and Guled handed over the certificate of participation despite not being a member of the sub-clan, but the electoral body did not yet released official statement.

In the second contest, Bihi Iman was also elected to represent the region in the lower house as voting continued in Mogadishu. This is the first lower house election and the winners will serve for a four-year term.

Mahdi Gulaid is a close ally of outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, who faces a debacle for his re-election after falling out with several of his lieutenants. Once all states have elected MPs, the country is expected to run for president.

Deputy Prime Minister has spoken out in Kenya-Somalia maritime case arbitrated by the International Court of Justice [ICJ] in The Hague. He is also no stranger to controversy due to his close relationship with Farmaajo.

At least 101 delegates were chosen by clan elders to participate in the exercise. In fact, North Western of Somaliawas the last to hold senatorial elections due to the differences between Mahdi Gulaid and Abdi Hashi, but the state has since accelerated the lower house elections.

Last month, delegates who voted for the senators were forced to hide under masks to avoid punishment when they returned to Hargeisa. North Western of Somaliastrictly condemns those who have relations with the Mogadishu administration because of historical differences.


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