Somalia extends election deadline to next month

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

  • Somalia, which has struggled to hold elections, has extended its deadline to finish voting for the lower house of parliament.
  • The lower house elections were due to be completed on Friday and pave the way for lawmakers to pick a president.
  • Somalia's announcement comes just days after the IMF warned it might have to stop its programme if the polls were postponed again.


Somalia on Friday extended its deadline to finish voting for the lower house of parliament, the latest in a series of election delays that risk starving the country of budget funds.

The fragile Horn of Africa nation has struggled to hold elections, with polls delayed by more than a year, bedevilled by political squabbling and a simmering Islamist insurgency.

The lower house elections were due to be completed on Friday and pave the way for lawmakers to pick a president.

But Deputy Information Minister Abdirahman Yusuf said the deadline had now been revised to March 15.

"The National Consultative Council... expressed their disappointment with the fact that they could not meet the deadline," the minister said in a televised address.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said the delay was driving "political instability" in the country and announced an extension of visa restrictions on officials and others "responsible for, or complicit in" undermining Somalia's electoral process.

The United States, which first imposed the restrictions on February 8, last month also threatened to levy sanctions if the country missed Friday's deadline.

Somalia's announcement comes just days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned it might have to stop its programme in the country if the polls were postponed again.

The IMF programme is due for a review in mid-May, but election delays mean a new administration may not be ready to endorse planned reforms in time, forcing it to an automatic halt, Laura Jaramillo Mayor, the fund's Somalia mission chief, told AFP.

Elections were originally scheduled for a year ago but were delayed when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known by his nickname Farmajo, tried to extend his term.

Farmajo's four-year mandate expired in February last year but was controversially extended by parliament in April, triggering deadly gun battles on the streets of Mogadishu.

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble then brokered a new election timetable, but in the months that followed, a bitter rivalry between him and Farmajo derailed the process again.

The international community has voiced fears that election delays, as well as the feud between Farmajo and Roble, could set off new troubles for a country that has lacked stable governance for three decades.

Somalia's elections follow a complex indirect model.

Nearly 30,000 clan delegates are assigned to choose 275 MPs for the lower house while state legislatures elect senators for the upper house, a process that has now been completed.

Once the lower house election is concluded, both assemblies vote for the next president.

So far, about 175 members of the lower house have been elected.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1038 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 5744 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1206 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.42
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
21.45
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
18.92
-0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.28
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.3%
Platinum
1,009.25
+0.8%
Palladium
1,651.07
+0.9%
Gold
1,927.95
+0.2%
Silver
23.71
+0.5%
Brent Crude
84.90
-2.1%
Top 40
73,431
-1.2%
All Share
79,477
-1.1%
Resource 10
75,833
-2.8%
Industrial 25
102,289
-0.4%
Financial 15
16,145
-1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE