Candidates convene meeting in Mogadishu over Somalia poll crisis

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The Council of presidential candidates in Somalia on Sunday held an emergency meeting in Mogadishu following the decision by the government to announce plans to continue with elections as planned, despite the resistance from a number of stakeholders.

Sources told MOL that the secret meeting took place at a Mogadishu Hotel on Monday night and their discussion revolved around thorny issues surrounding the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in the country, which have sharply divided politicians.

Both parties are working around the clock to solve the stalemate which threatens to plunge the country into unprecedented constitutional crisis given that elections are supposed to be held within the strict timelines as dictated by the rule of law.

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said the country will proceed with the plans of holding elections despite the growing opposition. According to him, the polls would kick off at HirShabelle, Galmadug, and Southwest, which are friendly to the government.

But the presidential elections led by former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, have faulted the move, arguing that elections must take place in Puntland and Jubaland where the opposition enjoys support.

Sheikh Mohamud, who is the immediate former President of Somalia, also denied claims that the opposition is plotting to scuttle elections. According to him, the government should take responsibility for delayed elections having failed to implement the September 2020 pre-election deal.

The Galmudug, HirShabelle, and Southwest leaders, who are staunch allies of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, also held a closed-door meeting with some opposition candidates at a hotel inside Mogadishu airport on Sunday night for efforts to iron out ongoing gridlock over the upcoming polls.

Opposition leaders have accused President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of installing NISA agents and civil servants along with loyalists on the electoral committee, which is supposed to oversee elections in the country. The government has repeatedly denied the claims.