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Universal vote in Somalia at stake over row among leaders and contentions in Electoral Law-UN envoy

UN envoy to Somalia James Swan has warned the prospects of a universal vote in Somalia this year are thinning out owing to absence of dialogue among leaders and unaddressed issues in the newly passed electoral law.

UN envoy to Somalia James Swan has warned the prospects of a universal vote in Somalia this year are thinning out owing to absence of dialogue among leaders and unaddressed issues in the newly passed electoral law.

Addressing the UN Security Council Monday, Swan said despite the passage of the law which aims to hand over power to elect to the citizens as opposed to clan elders, a lot needed to be addressed in order to realise the 2020 elections milestone.

“While an important step, the new law regrettably does not address many outstanding questions necessary to implement the code,” Swan said. “These questions relate to the locations of constituencies, how to guarantee 30 percent of seats for women, and the modalities to enable Somalis from across the country to participate.”

President Mohamed Farmaajo assented to the Elections Law last week following its passage by both houses of Parliament. The law proposes the election of representatives through one-person-vote model but unlike the 2016 elections framework, does not address the affirmative issue of ensuring women representation. The delineation of electoral boundaries also remains unresolved.

Swan also told the Council the absence of dialogue among leaders especially at the Federal and Member State levels and the opposition could derail the realization of the 2020 elections.

“The protracted absence of a broad political consensus on the way forward in 2020 remains a threat to further progress, Swan said, urging stakeholders to engage and find solutions to the pending issues.
Opposition leaders announced in January their withdrawal from talks with Farmaajo citing ‘lack of commitment.’

Swan also took at a swipe at President Farmaajo noting that despite being presented with a report on modalities for resuming, dialogue, the talks have yet to resume.

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