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Farmajo to travel to Qatar as close to two-thirds of MPs elected

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo will travel to Doha on Saturday to meet with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, Qatar’s national news agency is reporting.

According to QNA, the two leaders will meet on Sunday to discuss bilateral relations and “issues of common interest” at the Presidential Palace.

Farmajo, who remains a staunch ally of the Gulf nation, is travelling to Qatar as Somalia’s long and arduous electoral process appears to be coming to an end as close to 180 of Somalia’s 250-member parliament have already been elected; albeit not without widespread allegations of electoral fraud and corruption. 

Somalia, which has already missed several electoral deadlines over the past 18 months, missed its latest target of completing Lower House elections by February 25. Last week, The NCC announced that the new deadline is March 15.

 

Somalia’s government has been without a mandate to govern since December 27, 2020, while the President’s term officially elapsed on February 8, 2021. 

When Somalia’s Lower House is complete, preparations will begin for the Presidential Elections where federal MPs will elect the country’s next leader. 

The timing of the trip had raised eyebrows among Somalia’s political elite. Somalia’s indirect electoral process has attracted large sums of money from foreign countries eager to back a presidential candidate. In past years, the Emirates and Qatar have been the most generous financiers, but Turkey, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have all been linked to candidates in the past.

Qatari money is widely credited to have tipped the scales in  Farmajo’s surprise presidential victory in 2017 against the incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Former National Security Director Fahad Yasin  worked as Farmajo’s campaign manager and is said to have brokered the connection with Doha.

President Farmajo last travelled to Doha to meet with the emir in late November.

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