Somalia: Decision to re-contest 11 MP seats sparks dispute

SPECIAL REPORT

A decision by one of Somalia’s indirect elections bodies has sparked negative reaction from state-level electoral bodies and the international community.

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.

According to the IEDRM’s ruling, the committee received 67 dispute cases. Thereafter, the IEDRM committee “conducted extensive investigations and listened to the sides involved in the disputes”.

The IEDRM concluded: “The committee, guided by evidences presented, decided to annul election results and require that the seats below are re-contested”.

Jubaland and Galmudug had one seat annulled each, while Puntland and Hirshabelle had two seats annulled each, and the remaining five seats were elected in Southwest state.

Two states reject IEDRM decision

The next day, Puntland and Southwest regional states rejected the IEDRM’s decision.

Khalif Aw Ali, chairman of Puntland’s state-level electoral committee, said the indirect parliamentary elections in Garowe were conducted in accordance with electoral regulations, and that both MPs annulled by the IEDRM were “elected lawfully and transparently”.

His counterpart in Southwest, Mohamed Abdullahi Mursal, had similar strong words for the IEDRM’s decision: “We will not re-contest any election, and we held free and transparent elections. Individuals with special interests are behind this [IEDRM] decision”.

Somali federal and state leaders meeting in Mogadishu this week were expected to discuss the new disagreement between the IEDRM and the state-level electoral bodies.

Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy to Somalia Michael Keating sent a letter to Somali leaders criticizing the IEDRM’s decision.

Source: Somali Review

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