Electoral body’s decision could have ‘negative consequences’ for next Somali president

A decision by one of Somalia’s indirect elections bodies has sparked a negative reaction from the international community, with the UN’s special envoy warning that the controversial decision might impact the world’s relations with Somalia’s next president.

On Dec. 14, the 25-member committee of the Independent Electoral Dispute Resolution Mechanism (IEDRM) issued a ruling that it had annulled 11 parliamentary seats in five regional states.

Some 14,000 delegates have been electing MPs in five regional capitals. The elections, underway since Nov. 6, concluded last week.

In a Dec. 16 letter from UN special envoy to Somalia Michael Keating – sent to federal and state leaders – Mr Keating said foreign diplomats met with the IEDRM committee to “request an explanation as to how the shortlist of 24 seats under consideration by the IEDRM had been reduced to eleven”.

The letter said the international community’s view was to annul seats “on the basis of the gravity of the electoral abuse uncovered”, adding that the IEDRM has a “responsibility and an opportunity to communicate the underlying logic both to the Somali public as well as to the international community”. 

Further, Mr Keating’s letter warned that “if the decision to re-contest seats appears to be arbitrary, and if the cases widely viewed as most egregious are not included in the list of seats to be re-contested, then the credibility of the electoral process overall, and of the IEDRM specifically, is undermined”.

Finally, the letter warned that such an outcome would have “seriously negative consequences for partners’ willingness and ability to work with whoever is elected as President and to maintain current levels of support to the Somali people”.

The IEDRM’s decision has also been rejected by Puntland and Southwest state administrations. Somali federal and state leaders have been meeting in Mogadishu since Dec. 15 in an effort to find a resolution to the dispute cases and reach a final agreement on the nature of 11 Upper House seats reserved for Somaliland.

A presidential election, delayed three times, is now scheduled for Dec. 28 but insiders worry new delays that push the election to 2017.

Source: Somali Review