Somalia delegates elect federal MPs in three regional states
The election process for selecting Members of the Lower House of Federal Parliament began this week across cities in Somalia, with MPs from Puntland, Southwest and Jubaland states being elected to four-year terms.
On November 5th, electoral colleges in Puntland capital Garowe began voting for MPs to represent them in the Federal Parliament, followed two days later similar elections in Baidoa and Kismayo, interim capitals of Southwest and Jubaland states, respectively.
The long-anticipated process comes at the culmination of eight months of talks and negotiations among Somalia’s federal and state leaders. Federal leaders – including President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake and Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari – are in office in a caretaker capacity after the federal government’s mandate ended in September.
The 275-member Lower House representing the country’s various constituencies – combined with the 54-member Upper House, representing the six regional states – are expected to have a joint session and elect the next president of Somalia.
Concern over “vote-buying and bribes”
Somalia’s federal government announced in July 2015 that it could not realistically hold one-man, one-vote elections the end of its mandate in August 2016.
Somali leaders agreed in January to distribute Lower House seats among the clans and sub-clans, based on the 4.5 formula. Upper House seats were distributed among the six regional states.
UN Special Envoy to Somalia Micheal Keating said it took “18 months to design the model” for the 2016 electoral process in Somalia, while expressing his concern about “vote-buying and bribes” might undermine credible elections.
“The architecture around this electoral process is infinitely more robust than it was in 2012,” Mr Keating concluded.