Somali presidential polls are on course, oversight election committee affirms

Mogadishu 5 February 2017 – The Chairperson of the 17-member Presidential Election Committee Mr. Abdirahman Beileh says preparations for Somalia’s much-awaited presidential polls are complete and the election will take place as scheduled.

“The President is elected by the public and so we are representatives of the public. We are listening to them, we have given a commitment that we will do our best, to select the best on their behalf,” Beileh said.

“So I want to tell the Somali people, I want to assure them that we will be true to our commitment to our country, our commitment to them and the nation in general, that we will do our best to select the best in the group,” he asserted.

The ballot scheduled for February 8 2017, will draw curtains on an electoral process that began in October 2016.

“The election will take place on 8th February. We planned taking into consideration all factors that can be expected and therefore we have no reason to doubt that on the eighth, toward the end of day, we will have a president,” Beileh said.

Twenty-three presidential candidates are eyeing the hotly contested seat, as the election committee puts in place strict rules to govern the process and ensure transparency.

“Everybody is determined that this process is carried out in a manner in line with the international rules and regulations. It will be credible, it will be transparent. I have absolutely have no reason to believe otherwise,” Mr. Beileh affirmed.

Strict procedures on balloting have also been put in place, to minimise risks of rigging, he said. Beileh says to avoid incidences of ballot stuffing, the ballot papers will be printed inside the voting hall, shortly before the onset of balloting.

“Ballot papers will be printed from within the election room, they are not going to be printed from outside. The printed ballots will be exactly equal to the number of Parliamentarians present. Once everybody has voted, there should be no balance of papers. That is one way of ensuring that there are no other papers lying around,” he explained.

The newly elected president will be installed immediately after the announcement of the final results, according to the Chairperson of the Presidential Election Committee.

The successful completion of Wednesday’s presidential election will be a key determinant of Somalia’s path to universal suffrage in the year 2020.