Somalia’s leaders to sign election deal

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Somalia’s key stakeholders ended their fourth day of talks in the capital Mogadishu with the strongest hint that a political deal will be reached by Thursday.

The details emerged on Tuesday following a marathon set of discussions from the weekend, with participants saying they had agreed on various issues that were initially contentious.

Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu, the Spokesman of the Federal Government said the National Consultative Forum (NCF) was likely to issue a communiqué of Thursday, signalling an agreement on the political calendar for the country.

The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and attended by presidents of the five Federal Member State – Said Abdullahi Deni (Puntland), Ahmed Abdi Qoorqoor (Galmudug), Ali Hussein Gudlawe (Hirshabelle), Abdulaziz Mohamed Laftagareen (South West) and Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe (Jubbaland) – Governor of Banadir region and Mayor of Mogadishu Omar Mohamed Filish.

A source told The EastAfrican that the substantive issues, including security for elections, venues as well as selection of delegates, had been agreed on. But the matter of Somaliland remained a thorny issue, especially as senior politicians from the breakaway region haggled on supremacy.

Speaker of the Senate Abdi Hashi and Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Gulaid are natives of Somaliland and had each fronted a different set of delegates in the past. Officials, however, indicated that they hoped to agree on a common ground before closure of the conference on Thursday.

“The prime minister has been the epicentre of the meeting and the person that had been the most alert on all issues that were raised, day and night, aiming at the summit achieving success,” the spokesman told the media.

Somalis and the world in general have been keenly following the summit for a possible solution that would lead to a definitive indirect election, having been delayed by three months already. News that the stakeholders have reached consensus on most of the thorny issues will likely calm the nation, and especially the capital Mogadishu which had last month neared a violent confrontation between rival clans and their militia.

Over the past few days, individuals who resorted to talk to the media said they had high hopes that the talks will bear fruit.

Mohamed Shire, a top official of Somali Non-State Actors’ Association (SONSA), a coalition of civil society entities, told The EastAfrican that there is a high expectation that leaders will clear their differences amicably.        

“We hope that the summit participants will tackle the main points that have generated the squabbles over the electoral implementation since September last year,” said Shire.

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