Parliament endorse winner-takes-all model ahead of 2020 polls

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Proportional Representation Closed List model that was backed by Somalia cabinet has been rejected by the people as the electoral model, a report has revealed.

A parliamentary ad-hoc committee on electoral laws has been collecting views from the people, in a bid to establish an accepted electoral model for civic and parliamentary polls scheduled for 2020.

The cabinet recommendations would lead to the loss of power sharing and would make it difficult to hold elections, the report said.

“They pointed out that this process could lead to the loss of power sharing that the Somali people have agreed on, and pointed out that it is difficult to hold one-to-one elections at this time,” reads the report.

Based on the views collected, the committee noted, it unanimously agreed the First-Past-the Post (FTPP) was the most appropriate electoral model.

With limited PR, the committee added, the winner-takes-all would eliminate chances of extremist people being elected to the house since ‘voters know aspirants’.

Somalia is struggling to contain Al-Shabaab militants, who have caused havoc in the country for over a dictate now, killing hundreds in the process.

The report also called for review of certain sections of the Elections Bill to align it with the Provisional Constitution of Somalia.

Winner-takes-all model is currently used in secessionist Somaliland, which has struggled to also hold elections in recent years due to internal squabbles.

While addressing United Nations Security Council last week, UN special envoy James Swan said ‘Any delay in this timeline puts the 2020 electoral calendar at risk’.

The UN envoy added: “I wish to underscore the critical importance of Parliament passing the electoral code and adopting amendments to the political parties law before the end of December.”

In his statement, Swan further asked the FGS to respect the rule of law and ensure the transitional constitution is implemented by 2020.

“Citizens must have the right to speak out, to access media, to organize and meet, and to travel to engage fellow Somalis throughout the country,” he said.

The special envoy further lauded President Mohamed Farmajo’s decision to meet opposition chiefs last week, arguing that the move would reduce building political tensions.

Swan noted, “I very much welcome yesterday’s meeting between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmajo’ and his two predecessors and encourage more such consultations.”

Besides the Al-Shabaab threat, FGS is also dealing with restlessness among states, which has seen Farmajo struggle to relate well with regional leaders.

For instance, Jubaland has accused Farmajo of working with Ethiopian non AMISOM troops to antagonize his ‘legitimately’ elected government.

This, Swan noted in UNSC, could also sabotage everything process in Somalia if the stalemate is not dealt with diplomatically.