UNSOM is mandated by the UN Security Council to support ‘one-person, one-vote’ federal elections.
In its Resolution 2461 of March 2019, the Council welcomed “the establishment of the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) offices at sub-national level,” underlined “the importance of UNSOM’s political and technical support, as well as operational and logistical support, in collaboration with UNSOS, to the Federal Government of Somalia for the delivery of inclusive, peaceful, free and fair one-person-one-vote elections in 2020.”
It also reaffirmed “the importance of the full, equal and effective participation of all Somalis, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, IDPs and refugees in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peacebuilding and elections,” and urged ”the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States to increase representation and participation of women and youth at all decision-making levels” and requested “UNSOM to continue to provide technical advice and capacity in this regard.”
The UN’s support for Somalia’s electoral process is carried out by the Integrated Electoral Support Group (IESG) – comprised of experts from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UNSOM – and centred on assisting the country’s National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) to conduct ‘one-person, one-vote’ federal elections.
Universal Suffrage Elections in 2020/21
UNSOM is supporting Somalia to prepare for universal suffrage ('one-person, one-vote') parliamentary elections, in accordance with the Federal Government’s political roadmap for inclusive politics, which states that these elections should be held in the last quarter of 2020.
The Council’s Resolution 2461 acknowledges that the Federal Government has committed to elections that are “fully inclusive, credible and peaceful.” IESG is assisting the NIEC which is constitutionally mandated to organize federal elections.
IESG has worked closely with the NIEC since its appointment in July 2015, providing technical advice, capacity development, temporary office space and equipment. IESG is supporting NIEC to build its own data centre and warehouse at NIEC’s new headquarters, and is also assisting with the establishment of its offices in the Jubaland, South West State, Galmadug Hirshabelle and Puntland.
Training has been provided on the principles of electoral administration, the electoral cycle, gender-responsive elections, leadership, outreach and electoral operations. NIEC Commissioners have received support to carry out study visits to Tanzania, Turkey, Tunisia, Lesotho, South Africa and Mexico to familiarize themselves with the work of electoral commissions. The NIEC also received support to engage with and participate in activities organized by the Arab States Electoral Management Bodies Organization and the Association of World Election Bodies (AWEB).
IESG is currently focusing on assistance to the NIEC for preparations of voter registration, with potential voter registration sites being identified around the country. Procurement, delivery, asset management, distribution and training on the use of voter registration kits are also part of this preparation.
IESG works closely with the NIEC in providing technical recommendations to strengthen the draft electoral law and to support the NIEC’s advocacy with the recently-established parliamentary ad hoc committee to improve the bill (July-September 2019). Fifty-six parties have been temporarily registered. Formal registration of political parties is awaiting the passage of the amendments to the political party law by Parliament.