UN: UN, partners task Somalia electoral body on credible elections

New York, US (PANA) -  The UN envoy in Somalia, Michael Keating, has stressed the need to ensure that the legitimacy of the electoral process in the country is preserved and called on the electoral body to investigate any credible reports of violations of rules and regulations.

In a statement, obtained by PANA in New York on Monday, Mr. Keating also noted that the electoral process in Somalia is "going much better than many predicted".

In that regard, he stated: "It would be highly counterproductive if instances of abuse, rule breaking and misconduct tarnish what otherwise promises to be a remarkable achievement."

"It is essential that credible reports of violations of the rules and regulations governing this process are investigated by the Indirect Electoral Dispute Resolution Mechanism (IEDRM), and appropriate action taken to preserve the legitimacy of the process," he said.

According to the statement, UN along with a range of international partners, including the African Union, the European Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the US, also called on the members of Somalia's National Leadership Forum (NLF) to use their authority and influence to prevent abusive and unfair electoral practices.

They also congratulated the national authorities and in particular the country's ad hoc electoral bodies for the progress achieved thus far on elections for both houses of the next federal parliament and recognized the positive role played by many traditional elders in resolving intra-clan disputes.

Voting has already been held for 43 of the 54 seats in the Upper House of the Parliament and elections have also been conducted for 112 of the 275 seats in the House of the People (the lower house).

The international community also stressed the important role of the IEDRM in reviewing the many complaints it has received from registered candidates in order to assess the credibility of their grievances on an individual basis.

They noted that, "it is healthy that many malpractices have been exposed and rectified", while raising concern over a number of high-profile incidents of disregard for the rules and regulations, including corruption and vote-buying, as well as harassment and intimidation of candidates, electoral college delegates, traditional elders and others.

Underscoring the importance that the new parliament and the incoming federal government are elected according to the rules established by the NLF and implemented the federal and state-level electoral implementation teams, they said: "The actual and perceived legitimacy of the process are critical to the acceptability and credibility of parliament and the incoming federal government."

The partners further urged the electoral implementation teams to adhere to their respective mandates in the interest of transparency and accountability and to discharge their responsibilities accordingly.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 21Nov2016

21 november 2016 15:28:50

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