Tanzania: European Council calls for credible polls in Somalia

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - The European Council on Monday adopted conclusions on Somalia, calling for a credible and accountable electoral process, which will ensure the necessary legitimacy for the elected leadership of the Horn of Africa country.

According to a statement on its conclusions on Somalia, made available to PANA in Dar es Salaam, the Council highlighted the importance of finalising the constitutional review process, establishing effective Somali security and defence forces, strengthening rule of law and enhancing stabilisation efforts, as well as speeding up the consolidation of the administrative structure of the federal Somali state.

“The forthcoming electoral process in Somalia is a milestone for the Somali people and Somali politics. It will have long-lasting implications for the security, stability and development of Somalia, and the wider region,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the EU has welcomed the progress, both at central and regional level, since the establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in 2012, noting: “This progress reflects the achievements, despite great challenges, of the Somali people themselves, and the close relationship with the international community through the 2013 Somali Compact.”

It affirmed that the EU recognised the crucial role played by the UN, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Somalia.

In addition, the EC underlined that only a credible and accountable electoral process will ensure the necessary legitimacy for the elected leadership of Somalia.

It stated: “The electoral process must mark a clear change in scope from the one that took place in 2012 and be more inclusive and transparent. It must also mark a step on the path to a democratic, united and stable Somalia, at both central and regional level with the objective of conducting free, one-person-one vote elections in 2020.

“The electoral implementation bodies mandated to manage and oversee the polls must be established urgently and transparently, and be clearly free of political interference.”

Furthermore, the European Union has impressed upon the Somali leadership the importance of moving forward with operational electoral implementation without further delay and to adhere to agreed credible timelines in line with constitutional provisions as well as commitments made before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

It emphasized that the polls must be transparent and take place within the highest possible degree of security provided by Somalia’s own armed forces and police and the troops of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).

Stressing the promotion of greater female representation in the political process as committed to by the National Leadership Forum (NLF), it said that would be an important achievement

“The essential role of women in political reconstruction and development is internationally recognised. The EU expects regional and federal Somali leaders to adhere to and promote this principle and urges them to establish mechanisms to guarantee the 30% quota for women in both houses of Parliament,” said the statement.

Also, the EU reaffirmed its commitment, stating that it stands ready to continue to support Somalia throughout the electoral process, in full respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of the country.

It cautioned, however, that the level of support would be contingent upon the integrity, transparency and conduct of this process.

Somalia’s new Federal leadership emerging from the electoral process will have to take on crucial challenges. In this context, the EU highlighted the importance of finalising the constitutional review process with a clear timeline.

“The new constitution must ensure a balance of power between the bicameral legislature, the President and the FGS, and clarify the relationship between the central institutions and the federal member states.

“Nationwide political consensus is the sine qua non for all political and security progress, including the consolidation and much needed expansion of the steps towards state-building achieved by the federal government. The NLF has proven to be able to contribute to this, setting the stage for future cooperation between the regions and the FGS,” it said.

On the security situation, the EU has strongly condemned the attacks perpetrated by al-Shabaab and expressed its continued concerns with the threat it represents for the peace and stability of Somalia and the region.

“In this context, the EU recognises the critical role of AMISOM in contributing to restoring peace and security in Somalia and stresses that AMISOM's presence remains essential until Government security forces are able to take over.

“The establishment of effective Somali security and defence forces is essential in order to allow for a transition from AMISOM under safe conditions, and, in the long term, to stabilise the country.

“Despite significant international assistance, including from the EU, progress made has been too limited. A political agreement between the FGS and the federal entities, through the NLF, is necessary to ensure nationwide consent to, and engagement in, the development of security and defence forces,” the statement said.

According to the EU, Somali authorities, supported by international partners, need to strengthen rule of law and enhance stabilisation efforts by providing basic services and support to liberated populations. Such an approach is also critical to facilitate sustainable reintegration of returning refugees.
-0- PANA AR/MA 18July2016

18 july 2016 12:06:27

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