US calls on Somalia to complete elections

The US is urging Somalia to speed up and complete its indirect elections while endorsing a meeting on the issue scheduled for later this week

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed addresses delegates at the Somali election negotiation in Mogadishu, Somalia earlier this year. Reuters

The US on Sunday called on Somalia to see its elections through to completion after it blew past last week’s deadline to finish them with less than 10 per cent of Somali parliamentarians for the lower house elected.

“The United States is deeply concerned by the continuing delays and by the procedural irregularities that have undermined the credibility of the process,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

“It is imperative that Somalia’s national and Federal Member State leaders swiftly conclude credible, transparent, and inclusive parliamentary and presidential elections and address concerns in an open and acceptable manner.”

Although the deadline for Somalia to complete its parliamentary elections was December 24, only 24 of 275 parliamentarians in the lower house have been elected so far. The elections began on November 1.

Mr Price also reiterated US support for a Somali National Consultative Council that is due to meet later this week to address the lengthy electoral delays.

"The United States remains committed to supporting peace and stability in Somalia and will use available tools to meet those goals,” said Mr Price.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble have exchanged blame in statements accusing the other of eroding the elections’ integrity.

Mr Mohamed had previously sought to extend his term by another two years and the elections had already been delayed for more than a year.

This resulted in clashes between competing factions of Somali security forces throughout Mogadishu in April, prompting more than 60,000 people to flee.

The clashes ended when Mr Mohamed agreed to put Mr Roble in charge of organising the elections.

The elections are indirect, with clan delegates selecting the 275 parliamentarians. The five Somali state legislatures elect the 54 members of the upper house.

After all parliamentarians are selected, both houses vote on the next president to lead the country.

Updated: December 26th 2021, 8:56 PM