Sunday April 17, 2022
As instability and famine continue to threaten the war-torn
Horn of Africa country, Somalia's newly elected parliament met on Saturday for
the first time, taking the country a step closer to the appointment of a new
Elections in Somalia follow a complex indirect model,
whereby state legislatures and clan delegates pick lawmakers for the national
parliament, who in turn choose the president.
Nearly 300 lawmakers were sworn in Thursday – already more
than a year behind schedule – after a chaotic voting process that has been
undermined by deadly violence and a power struggle between the current president
and the prime minister.
International partners – including the United Nations, the
African Union mission in Somalia, the European Union and a host of foreign
governments – have welcomed the development.
Saturday's parliamentary session set the ball rolling for
the election of speakers for the lower and upper houses before they sit to
choose a new president.
A date for choosing the new president has yet to be set.
The parliamentary elections should have been completed
before President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's term expired in February 2021.
But political infighting stymied the process and the
president's mandate expired without a vote taking place.
Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, tried to extend his rule
by decree but faced protests and violent opposition in Mogadishu, where rival
political factions fought on the streets.
Under pressure from the international community, he
appointed Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to seek consensus on a way
forward but disagreements between the two men hindered progress.
The bitter spat between Roble and Farmajo stoked fears of
further instability in the Horn of Africa country, which is battling a
decadelong insurgency and the threat of famine.
Some parliamentary seats still remain unfilled but
sufficient lawmakers have been sworn in to move the election process forward.
So far, 298 legislators have taken the oath of office, from a possible 329
members for both houses.
Somalia has not held a one-person, one-vote election in 50