Somalia extends electoral process timetable by 30 days

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The Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) has announced new dates for Somalia’s electoral process.The presidential election will now take place on 30 November 2016, while parliamentary elections will be held from October 23 to November 10 for both the lower and upper houses.

The election of speakers of both houses of parliament will be held on 23 November. Addressing a press briefing in Mogadishu this evening, FIEIT chairperson Omar Mohamed Abdulle ‘Dhagey’ attributed the delay to several causes.

“Although substantial progress has been achieved on the electoral process, it seems some of the tasks cannot be completed based on the planned schedule, due to several impediments including political challenges, security, management of the electoral budget, the Election Dispute Resolution Mechanism which has not yet commenced work. Some traditional elders haven’t yet completed submission of a list of delegates,” he said.

A three-day meeting between FIEIT members and chairpersons of the State Indirect Electoral Implementation Teams (SIEIT) also agreed that the Election Dispute Resolution Mechanism should become operational by October 8, in order to address complaints of irregularities related to the electoral process.

The FIEIT also announced a breakthrough on the electoral venue for the Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions, following negotiations with traditional elders representing the two regions.

“After extensive discussions, 16 out of the 18 traditional elders agreed that the electoral process for the two regions be held in the capital Mogadishu,” said FIEIT chairperson Abdulle.

Presidents of the existing and emerging federal member states will be asked to submit the names of candidates for the upper house of the federal parliament by 5 October. The electoral oversight team also called for the speedy deployment of African Union Mission In Somalia troops to the Galmudug capital of Cadaado to bolster security of the electoral process in that federal member state.

The FIEIT also signaled the need for an “immediate solution” to the issue of Somaliland’s representation in the upper house in order to ensure its participation in this year’s electoral process.