EU, East Africa bloc call on Somali leaders to swiftly agree on electoral process

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File photo shows members of the federal parliament go to cast their votes in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Feb. 8, 2017. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
File photo shows members of the federal parliament go to cast their votes in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Feb. 8, 2017. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)

The EU and the East African bloc have called on Somali leaders to quickly reach a compromise on the electoral process to pave way for a peaceful transfer of power through the implementation of the September 2020 pre-election deal.

In separate statements, the EU and Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) called on the leaders to resolve the current political impasse, warning that failure to hold elections on time risks destabilizing Somalia.

“The current lack of agreement seriously delays the pace of urgently needed reforms, for the detriment of Somalia’s citizens,” EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said in a statement issued on Tuesday evening in Mogadishu.

Borrel said when individual priorities prevail over the general interest of the country, political leaders discredit themselves to represent their citizens.

“Those who undermine the dialogue or resort to the use of violence will be exposed to measures and will face the consequences of their actions,” he warned.

The EU official said Somalia’s federal and member state leaders must honor their responsibilities to the citizens and hold Parliamentary and Presidential elections immediately.

“No alternative, unilateral or partial process will receive our support,” Borrell cautioned.

The statement comes as the sixth round of consultative summit between the government and federal member states entered day two in Mogadishu on Tuesday without the participation of two leaders of federal member states.

Jubbaland and Puntland state leaders snubbed the summit, claiming that they had not been officially informed of the meeting to discuss election issues.

President Mohamed Farmajo who is seeking re-election for the second term in office is under pressure after the Feb. 8 election date passed without resolution of issues related to how the vote should be conducted in Somalia.

Farmajo and three federal member state leaders from Hir Shabelle, South West and Galmudug have been holding consultative meetings for some time to help strike a consensus on holding presidential and parliamentary elections.

However, Farmajo whose term in office officially ended on Feb. 8 has failed to break the deadlock on the electoral process.

East Africa’s bloc has also expressed deep concern that the national consultative forum meeting could not take place as planned.

The IGAD urged all leaders to refrain from all acts that may jeopardize efforts to resume dialogue and further deepen the current political stalemate.

“The interests of the Somali people remain paramount and the Somali leadership must deliver on popular aspiration for peaceful, inclusive, free, fair and credible elections. Failure is not an option,” the bloc said in a statement issued on Tuesday evening.

The regional bloc encouraged the members of the national consultative forum to recommit to the path of dialogue and work together in harmony and in the spirit of compromise, in the best interest of the people of Somalia.

Similar statements have been shared by the UN and some Western nations which have urged the country’s feuding parties to respect the Sept. 17, 2020 pre-election deal by the government and leaders of the country’s states on holding elections.

Somalia on Dec. 1, 2020 missed a deadline to hold its parliamentary elections which were due to begin as agreed by the government and six regional states in September 2020.

Parliamentary and presidential elections were to be held between December 2020 and February, respectively.

 

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