UN urges Somalia to hold elections “without further delay”

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Amid protests and rising political tensions, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has passed a resolution urging the government of Somalia to hold elections “without further delay”.

“The Council called upon the Federal Government of Somalia and the federal member states to organise free, fair, credible and inclusive elections, in line with the 17 September 2020 agreement and without further delay, and to finalise political agreement to that end,” the resolution read.

In the unanimously approved resolution, the UN has also authorized the African Union Mission (AMISOM) to continue maintaining its troops in Somalia until the end of 2021 to counter the threat from al-Shabab and armed opposition groups.The UNSC has further stressed the need for the Somalian government and its partners to take a “coordinated and cohesive” approach towards political and security reforms in order to ensure a smooth transition of security responsibilities from AMISOM.

Niger’s UN Ambassador Abdou Abarry has also called on the African Union to play a leadership role in determining the future of its mission to Somalia throughout the transition process. International pressure is mounting on Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known by nickname Farmajo, to hold elections as soon as possible after the scheduled deadline for February 8 polls was missed due to a lack of agreement among regional leaders on the voting process. While President Mohamed’s constitutional mandate concluded on February 8, he maintained that the law allows him to stay in office until fresh elections are held in the country.

This political deadlock has resulted in massive protests across various regions in Somalia over the past few weeks. Protesters are demanding the Farmajo administration to hand over power and include all stakeholders in the election process. Last month, the UN envoy for Somalia, James Swan, had urged for an agreement between the government and the opposition to hold elections as soon as possible.

“This is a time to pursue dialogue and compromise to reach an inclusive and credible political agreement to hold elections as soon as possible based on the 17 September model,” the diplomat said, during a UNSC video conference. In September 2020, Farmajo held a meeting with a few regional leaders and reached an agreement that would have assisted in holding an indirect election. Under the deal, election planning was scheduled to begin on November 1. However, the deal failed to come into effect after two federal state leaders alleged that the President is not fulfilling the clauses of the agreement.

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