Speaker of parliament says 140 MPs backed return to September agreement that will allow for indirect presidential and parliamentary elections.
Somalia’s lower house of parliament has voted unanimously to restore an agreement reached last year that will allow the country to hold indirect elections.
Last month, the parliament had voted to extend President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s term by two years and for the country to hold its future polls under a one-man, one vote system.
The move, however, was rejected by the senate, prime minister, opposition leaders and four of the country’s six federal member states, leading to standoff in the capital, Mogadishu.
On Saturday, Speaker Mohamed Mursal said 140 MPs had voted to reinstate indirect polls based on the September 2020 agreement, with no lawmakers expressing any objection.
In an address to parliament shortly before the vote, Mohamed, who is popularly known as Farmaajo, called on lawmakers to back the return to the agreement.
He also said he had directed Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to “spearhead the process of preparations and the implementation of the electoral process including key election security arrangements to ensure elections take in a peaceful and stable atmosphere”.
At the heart of the current crisis facing the country is Farmaajo’s failure to hold parliamentary and presidential elections before his term expired in February.
Farmaajo and the federal states had agreed in September to hold indirect elections before the February 8 deadline, whereby special delegates chosen by Somalia’s clan elders pick lawmakers who in turn choose the president.
Somalia has not held a direct one-person one-vote election since 1969 and repeat efforts to organise one have been scuttled by security problems or lack of political will.
The indirect model has been used before. This time around it was to go further in terms of inclusivity, with double the polling locations and almost twice as many delegates voting as the last election in 2017.
But it never got off the ground, with hostilities between Farmaajo and the leaders of Puntland and Jubaland derailing the plan.
The two key states accused Farmaajo of stacking all-important electoral committees at a state and federal level with loyalists. The central government rejected their alternatives, with no side agreeing on who would provide security on voting day.