Somalia Must Hold Its Long Overdue Elections

Reading Time: 2minutes

A delay in Somalia’s electoral process has created a political crisis in Somalia. “The United States is deeply concerned by the electoral impasse in Somalia, which is creating political uncertainty that threatens security, stability, and development in the country,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a written statement.

According to Somalia’s provisional constitution, parliamentary and presidential elections must be held within the government’s four-year electoral mandate.

In September 2020, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is also know as Farmaajo, and Somalia’s five Federal Member State leaders agreed on a framework for holding elections, but implementation has broken down as the parties have accused one another of seeking to manipulate the process to their benefit. Multiple rounds of negotiations to resolve the electoral impasse have failed, resulting in political gridlock.

President Farmaajo’s mandate expired February 8, but he has remained in office, citing Parliament’s decision when it endorsed the September 2020 election framework agreement to extend his mandate and its own until elections are completed.

President Farmaajo has thus far refused demands from opposition forces that he cede control over the election process and security institutions, as was the practice during delays in political transitions in 2012 and 2016. This has increased tensions and prospects for violence, and clashes between federal security elements and opposition-affiliated clan militias broke out in Mogadishu February 19 in advance of and during opposition-led protests against the government. This is a dangerous situation and must be resolved immediately.

“We call on Somalia’s federal and member state leaders to set aside narrow political objectives, uphold their responsibilities to the people of Somalia, and agree to immediately hold transparent and inclusive elections,” said Secretary of State Blinken.

“The current impasse undermines progress made to date, delays reforms urgently needed for Somalia to continue on the path to full debt relief, and hinders the fight against terrorism. The United States supports the right of Somali citizens to protest peacefully and firmly opposes the use of violence by any party. We urge Somalia’s leaders to safeguard the country’s future and find agreement to immediately conduct parliamentary and presidential elections.”