Somalia: Intl community calls for speedy, transparent, credible electoral process in Somalia

Mogadishu, Somalia (PANA) - The international community has welcomed the progress made in clarifying the electoral model for Somalia, taking note of the details set out in the National Leadership Forum (NLF) communiqué and called for the speedy implementation of a transparent and credible process.

In a joint press statement issued Sunday, the United Nations, the African Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the European Union (EU), Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America also welcomed the Somali leaders’ reiteration of their commitment to reserving 30% of parliamentary seats for women.

"With the decisions of the NLF, which concluded its meeting on 14 September, the features of the 2016 electoral model are now more clear," said the statement, pointing out that the Forum participants "reflected in their decision that every third seat in the Lower House will be contested exclusively by women to ensure the objective of enhanced women’s representation in Parliament is achieved."

Since the NLF authorized the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) to clarify and resolve any outstanding issues of the electoral process, the international community  has urged all stakeholders to respect the role of the FIEIT in guiding the electoral process, as outlined in its Terms of Reference.

"Considering the process should be completed at the latest by 6 November 2016, speedy implementation of the electoral process is critical to ensure compliance with the electoral calendar previously adopted. Legitimacy must be bestowed on authorities exercising power beyond this date," the statement emphasized.

"International partners urge both Somali women to exercise their participatory rights, and all other stakeholders to enable women’s political participation and representation. They call on the FIEIT to set a deadline for the elders to identify the specific seats observed for women.

"The international partners welcome the consensus reached on the formation of an Upper House of 54 members, which is in accordance with the Provisional Federal Constitution.  They recognize the many political compromises necessary and commend the leadership that has enabled this agreement," read part of the statement.

With this progress, Somalia has completed its federalization and constitutional review processes after the political transition in 2016, as well as the preparations for universal (one-person, one-vote) elections in 2020.

These achievements offer further opportunities to address the longer-term power-sharing issues, though not all can be addressed by the 2016 electoral model in the Horn of Africa country. For that reason, the international partners assured their readiness to lend their assistance in this regard.

According to the statement, Somalia’s international partners remain committed to an inclusive state formation process in Hiraan and Middle Shabelle.

"The immediate priority is to ensure Hiraan and Middle Shabelle participate in the electoral process," they said, stressing the importance of urgent decisions on the electoral modalities and the related security and logistical arrangements, which must be put in place immediately, in parallel with the ongoing dialogue.

Meanwhile, the international partners have noted the readiness of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to provide the required security arrangements at all agreed locations.

Implementation of the electoral process has begun in many parts of the country and maximum technical integrity, uniformity, and transparency are critical yardsticks for the credibility of the 2016 electoral process.  

In this regard, the international partners encouraged Somali leaders to finalize the establishment of a transparent, independent, and fair electoral dispute resolution mechanism without delay.  

In addition, the group said they would contribute through the deployment of electoral experts and observers to the mechanism, as well as through support for Somali organizations monitoring the implementation of the electoral process.

They called on the FIEIT to expeditiously publish a detailed explanation of the electoral model as well as the roles and responsibilities of all implementation bodies and the rules and procedures for candidate registration, polling procedures and the code of conduct so that "the Somali people are sufficiently informed about the process."

Funding for the electoral process will be administered through mechanisms set up under the auspices of the United Nations, and the international partners suggested that this arrangement should be implemented without additional delays and a credible mechanism for timely disbursement should be put in place.

“Two important things have taken place in the last few days," said Special Representative of the Secretary-General Michael Keating. “On13 September, IGAD Heads of State and Government met in Mogadishu and welcomed the progress made in Somalia; this is the first Summit in Somalia in 42 years.  On 14 September, the NLF signed off on the electoral model. Both events may be critical milestones towards peace and stability in Somalia. All now have to deliver on this commitment.”
-0- PANA AR 18Sept2016

18 september 2016 18:28:06

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