International community urges decisive action to address instances of electoral process abuse

20 Nov 2016

International community urges decisive action to address instances of electoral process abuse

The United Nations, African Union, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States call upon the members of the National Leadership Forum to use their authority and influence to prevent abusive and unfair electoral practices. These include the harassment and intimidation of candidates, the manipulation of delegate and candidate lists, and the use of security forces and other government resources to favor one parliamentary candidate over another.

International partners congratulate Somali authorities and in particular the country’s ad hoc electoral bodies for the progress achieved to date on elections for both houses of the next federal parliament. Voting has been held for 43 of the 54 seats in the Upper House of parliament. Elections have also been conducted for 112 of the 275 seats in the House of the People.

It is crucial that the new parliament and incoming federal government are elected according to the rules established by the National Leadership Forum and implemented by the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) and the State-Level Indirect Electoral Implementation Teams (SIEITs). The actual and perceived legitimacy of the process are critical to the acceptability and credibility of parliament and the incoming federal government.

The international community highlights the important work of the Indirect Electoral Dispute Resolution Mechanism (IEDRM) in reviewing the many complaints it has received from registered candidates in order to assess the credibility of their grievances on an individual basis. It also recognizes the positive role that many traditional elders are playing in resolving intra-clan disputes.

It is healthy that many malpractices have been exposed and rectified.  However, partners are alarmed by a number of high-profile incidents of disregard for the rules and regulations. These include corruption and vote-buying, and the harassment and intimidation of candidates, electoral college delegates, traditional elders and others.

International partners continue to raise their concerns with relevant authorities including state presidents. They will fully support decisions made by the FIEIT and the IEDRM to suspend voting for a particular seat or disqualify a winning candidate on the basis of conclusive evidence that verifies complaints of serious irregularities in the electoral process.

They urge the FIEIT and the SIEITs to adhere to their respective mandates in the interest of transparency and accountability. The SIEITs should submit to the FIEIT the lists of delegates and candidates, the allocation of seats for exclusively female candidates and provisional voting results in a timely manner. The FIEIT should publish the lists of parliamentary candidates and disseminate them widely.  

“This electoral process is going much better than many predicted three or six months ago. It would be highly counterproductive if instances of abuse, rule breaking and misconduct tarnish what otherwise promises to be a remarkable achievement,” said the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Michael Keating. “It is essential that credible reports of violations of the rules and regulations governing this process are investigated by the IEDRM, and appropriate action taken to preserve the legitimacy of the process.”