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Madobe wins crucial election for Lower House Speaker as long-delayed presidential poll nears

Sheikh Adam Mohamed Nur Madobe was declared the Speaker of Somalia’s 11th Parliament on Wednesday after resoundingly defeating Hassan Abdinur in the run-off election where the two contestants went head-to-head, which many believe could be a litmus test for the upcoming presidential election.

Members of Somalia’s 11th Parliament held the vote at the Afisioni tent in Mogadishu. 

Adam Madobe received 163 votes in the election, while Hasan Abdinur received 89 votes.‎

Abdinur led all candidates in the first round of voting with 98 votes; however, he had less than nine votes in the final run-off vote despite only having one opponent.

Madobe only had 74 votes in the first round, but opposition MPs coalesced around him in the second and final round of voting, where he received an additional 89 votes from the opening go-round. 

It is the second time he will lead the parliament as the speaker, having served in the Abdullahi Yusuf administration in 2007. After President Yusuf resigned from office, he briefly served as acting TFG president.

The day-long  marathon poll for Lower House speaker was marred by accusations of interference since polls were scheduled to open. MPs said they were being blocked from entering Afisioni by government security forces. Despite being planned for Wednesday morning, the Lower House did not have a quorum to hold the vote until late in the evening. 

One of the main drivers in the dispute is the question of legitimacy surrounding the Gedo MPs elected in parallel elections in two different towns, Garbaharey and Elwak.

Despite reports that Elwak MPs were allowed to enter the election hall, neither set of MPs was allowed to participate in the Lower House Speaker election.

Both the Prime Minister and the President have issued competing directives regarding the responsibility of election security.

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble instructed the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) on Tuesday to immediately take over the security of the Afisiyoni tent. 

Meanwhile, President Farmajo immediately rebuffed the Prime Minister’s directives and ordered ATMIS to defer security responsibility to the Somali Police Force, despite its Police Chief being dogged by accusations of election interference on behalf of Villa Somalia by various officials tasked with organizing the election for Lower House Speaker, including the interim speaker, Abdisalam Dhabanad, and the committee chairman, Abdirizak Omar Mohamed.

Hours before MPs were to vote in an election for Lower House speaker, the federal Minister of Interior, Abdullahi Nor, announced that he suspended the Police Commissioner, General Abdi Hassan Mohamed Hijar, effective immediately, for “using force to stop the planned (parliamentary) sessions.”

Ultimately, African Union soldiers secured the election hall and verified the list of verified MPs given to them by the interim speaker of parliament.

Madobe is a career politician whose most recent cabinet position came in 2014 when he was appointed to Minister of Industry and Commerce by then Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed.

Hassan Abdinur was believed to be the Villa Somalia-favoured candidate. Following the abysmal performance in the second final run-off poll, opposition candidates are likely to view the poll as a positive sign for their electoral campaigns in the presidential poll, which sources say can be held as early as the next two weeks.

Farmajo is among the dozen candidates seeking election in Somalia’s long-delayed presidential election. His constitutional mandate expired on February 8, 2021.


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