East African leaders call for free, fair polls in Somalia

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

MOGADISHU, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — East African leaders ended their day-long summit in Mogadishu late Tuesday, calling for free and fair elections in Somalia scheduled from late September to October.

Leaders attending the special Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit, including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, endorsed Somalia’s 2016 electoral roadmap.

“The leaders encouraged all Somalis to participate in the 2016 electoral process and hoped that free and fair elections are conducted within the time lines,” they said in a communique issued in Mogadishu.

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They also welcomed the federal government of Somalia’s commitment to a credible, transparent and inclusive electoral mechanism toward a peaceful and democratic transition.

Somalia’s Federal Indirect Elections Implementation Team (FIEIT) last month released a timetable for the 2016 electoral process.

The timetable, which sets out the process to choose a new federal Parliament between Sept. 24 and Oct. 10, and president by Oct. 30, was endorsed by Somalia’s National Leadership Forum.

Some 51 constituency members will elect each MP, which means 14,025 citizens will take part the indirect elections.

If this goes according to the plan, there is hope that the country will hold its first fair and free one-person, one-vote elections by 2020.

The regional leaders requested the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to provide all necessary security to the electoral process.

The summit, the first IGAD Heads of State and Government meeting held in Mogadishu since the regional bloc was established in 1986, also urged regional countries to continue engaging Mogadishu proactively in order to sustain the stabilization efforts.

 

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