HirShabelle state to resume voting for Lower House members following temporary suspension of polls
A deadlock in an electoral dispute in HirShabelle state was resolved today, following the intervention of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia Michael Keating and the Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson (SRCC) Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira.
SRSG Keating and Ambassador Madeira negotiated a settlement in a dispute between two clans, which had resulted in a temporary suspension of voting in the state for seats in the House of the People. The suspension was announced after an exchange of gunfire outside a polling station in Jowhar between bodyguards of two rival candidates on 18 November.
“We recognize that there will be political challenges, but as the international community we believe that despite those challenges, having the rules respected will bring great benefits to a new state and will send a signal to the rest of Somalia and to the international community,” SRSG Keating said, shortly after meeting with the HirShabelle State-level Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (SIEIT), HirShabelle President Ali Abdullahi Osoble and officials of his administration.
“Our message to the president and to the SIEIT and to everyone, is that the rules of the process as set down by the National Leadership Forum need to be respected including the quota for women, which in HirShabelle we hope means that 11 women will be elected to the Lower House,” SRSG Keating emphasized.
HirShabelle state has an allocation of 37 seats in the federal parliament’s House of the People.
President Osoble acknowledged the importance of the reserved seats for women.
“We agreed to accelerate the electoral process, respect and consider the quota for women and how we could work together to support the administration of HirShabelle,” he stated.
SRCC Francisco Madeira pledged the African Union’s support for the recently formed administration.
“We will support you in terms of security, and we will support you politically,” Ambassador Madeira told HirShabelle President Osoble.
The Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team will release new dates for the resumption of elections in the state.
Elsewhere, voting continued in South West state, where three more candidates were elected MPs.
Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed, the federal Minister of Industry and Trade, was among the victorious candidates in today’s balloting.
Mohamed Abdullahi Mursal, the South West SIEIT chairman, announced that delegates from the state’s Lower Shabelle region would start registering for elections tomorrow.
“This was one of the few challenges we had and which we have now overcome,” he said.
South West state has so far elected 30 members of the House of the People out of an allocation of 69 seats. The SIEIT hopes to conclude elections in South West state within the next ten days.