Troubled Somalia elections hit new snag

However, 40 seats remained unfilled in the three other states - Jubaland, Hirshabelle, Puntland. The government did not immediately comment. Somalia has battled a jihadist insurgency for 15 years.

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Troubled Somalia elections hit new snag

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia failed to conclude elections for the lower house of parliament by a deadline Tuesday, marking the latest hitch in a deeply troubled process to appoint a new president.

The mandate of the outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, expired in February 2021 but was then controversially extended by parliament, triggering deadly clashes.

Under a complex indirect election system, the lower house plays a crucial role in appointing the president. The five federal state assemblies, as well as delegates chosen by clans, choose legislators who in turn name the president.

Members should have been elected to the lower house by 25 February - a deadline that the government extended to 15 March.

As the latest deadline loomed on Tuesday, the federal states of the South West and the Galmudug had elected their representatives to the 275-seat body, according to an AFP count using official data.

However, 40 seats remained unfilled in the three other states - Jubaland, Hirshabelle, Puntland. The government did not immediately comment. Somalia has battled a jihadist insurgency for 15 years.

Farmajo's mandate was controversially extended by parliament in April, triggering deadly gun battles on the streets of the capital Mogadishu. Seeking to calm tensions, Farmajo ordered his prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, to organize elections but tensions arose between the two, delaying the process.

Elections to the upper house were completed at the end of 2021. In January, Roble and regional leaders concluded an agreement to complete elections to the lower house by 25 February after voting began in November. The deadline was then pushed back to 15 March.

The international community has voiced fears that election delays could set off new troubles in a country already fighting insurgents. After last month's delay, the US announced an extension of visa restrictions on officials and others responsible for, or complicit in undermining Somalia's electoral process.

And in February, the International Monetary Fund told AFP that the country's financial aid program - due to end automatically in May - was at risk if a new government was not in place by that date.

The United Nations' special representative for Somalia, James Swan, also called on the authorities to "accelerate and quickly conclude" elections for the lower house.

Source:/AFP
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