Turkey welcomed a decision by the Somali parliament on Saturday that would see elections held in the Horn of Africa nation as soon as possible.
“We welcome the decision of the Lower House of the Somali Parliament today (1 May), which endorses holding the elections on the basis of the 17 September agreement as soon as possible,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We hope that this development will serve to restart constructive talks among political stakeholders without delay and ensure progress on the basis of social consensus by overcoming disagreements,” it added.
The ministry also stressed that Ankara, has always stood by the “friendly and brotherly” people of Somalia and would continue to maintain its “strong support.”
Before the decision, Somali leaders had failed several times in the past six months to strike a deal to hold elections, with lawmakers voting last month to extend President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s term in office for two years.
The Somali lower parliament chamber reversed this decision on Saturday in a unanimous vote, setting the country on course for previously agreed indirect elections, according to the house leadership.
Somali president Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed addressed the parliament, announcing that the country’s prime minister would lead the elections process.
“I’d like to state that our Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble will spearhead the process of preparations and the implementation of the electoral process, including key election security arrangements to ensure elections take place in a peaceful and stable atmosphere,” he told the lawmakers.
Somalia has witnessed political stalemate after presidential and parliamentary elections were delayed and the president’s constitutional mandate expired on Feb. 8.
An agreement between the central government and regional leaders in the town of Dhusamareb on Sept. 17 last year was seen as a major step towards Somalia holding indirect parliamentary and presidential elections in late 2020 and early 2021, respectively.
It had since stalled as the country’s divided political leaders differ on how to proceed with the elections.