Mogadishu (AFP) – Somalia will hold a delayed presidential vote on October 30 with parliamentary polls starting next month, an official statement sent to AFP Monday said, in what international backers hope will signal a long-awaited return to stability.
The UN-sponsored Somalia Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) met with the leaders of the country’s regional governments along with the president to decide on the electoral calendar, it said in the statement.
The FIEIT said parliamentary voting will be held from September 24 to October 10.
“The election for the speaker will be held on 25th October and the presidential elections will be held on 30th October 2016,” the statement said.
The list of the candidates for the presidency is yet to be published officially but the sitting president Hassan Sheik Mohamud is starting his campaigns to win a second term.
Mohamud’s current mandate expires on September 10 but the regional governments have agreed to extend his term up to the October 30 vote.
But Somalia’s vote will be a “limited franchise election” rather than the one-person-one-vote election promised in Somalia’s constitution, though more inclusive than the last polls in 2012.
Clan elders will select parliamentarians while each of Somalia’s federal states will choose representatives to a new upper house. The two houses of parliament will vote for a president.
The vote will involve up to 14,000 delegates chosen by clan elders and organised into six US-style “electoral colleges” to choose 275 MPs, 30 percent of whom will be women.
Somalia sank into a devastating civil war in 1991 when warlords ousted president Mohamed Siad Barre, plunging the country into years of chaos.
As the country prepares for elections, the security situation remains troubled, largely due to the Shebab, radical Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda who are fighting to overthrow the government.