MOGADISHU — The United Nations on Monday welcomed a consensus reached Sunday by the country’s political leaders to expedite the electoral process after many months of delay.
The UN told the political leaders that the priority now is to implement the 18-point decisions, which were reached on Sunday following six days of national consultative talks to achieve a credible and widely-accepted result by the new deadline of Feb. 25.
“The UN encourages Somalia’s political leaders to continue in a spirit of cooperation, avoid provocations that risk new tensions or conflict, and stay focused on delivering a credible electoral process quickly for the benefit of all Somalis,” the world body said in a statement issued in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
The statement comes after Prime Minister Mohamed Roble and six regional leaders agreed to complete parliamentary elections by Feb. 25 and on ways of enhancing security at the presidential palace.
The leaders also struck a deal on the selection committee appointments, delegate selection, candidate registration, the reservation of seats for women candidates to comply with the agreed 30 percent quota, and the management of candidate fees.
The country’s electoral body had set Dec. 24, 2021, as the deadline for completion of the parliamentary elections but only 24 of the 275 seats have been filled so far.
The international community has expressed concern over the delay in holding the elections amid concerns that Somalia could again slide into chaos at a time al-Shabab militant group has intensified attacks across the country.
The 54-member Senate and the 275 members of parliament from the Lower House are now expected to jointly elect a new president later in 2022.
Observers say that the elections will be a defining moment for Somalia’s ability to govern itself and for the transition calendar as 2022 will also see the transfer of security responsibility to Somali national security forces upon the exit of African Union troops.