With time winding down and international pressure mounting, a date has been announced by the National Leadership Forum (NLF) for the Somalia Federal Elections. On November 7th, 275 members of the lower house of parliament will select Somalia’s 9th president.
The NLF met to finalize the elections timetable as well to establish the dispute commission, implementation methods, approve of the Terms of Reference, discuss security concerns and complete the elections budget. They also met to resolve key questions such as what shall be done if only one candidate is vying for a seat and the status of Mogadishu.
Among other ambitious targets, The NLF’s (National Leaders Forum) April communique stated that 30% of both houses of parliament must be reserved for women; many analysts and observers wonder if and how this goal will be achieved.
In an election season fraught with delayed expectations and fierce opposition by constitutionalists, there is still a lot of work to be done if the November date is to be met. In a precautionary move, the Somali parliament already made amendments to the constitution in June that would allow the House to continue its function if the country failed to meet previous election deadlines set for this month.
The 13,750 members of the electorate, who will be representing 10.5 million Somalis, must first select the 275 members of the lower house of parliament. The date for the election of MPs is between the 1st and 14th of October, the names of the MPs is scheduled be read on October 17th.
The Speaker of Parliament will be elected on the 28th of October, the last step before the Federal Republic of Somalia announces the results of the Presidential election on November 7th.
Citing security concerns, the NLF declared having single vote elections as promised in 2012 impractical and subsequently agreed to this peculiar indirect election model. Leaders are promising single-vote elections that abide by Somalia’s constitution in 2020. Somalia has not had a popularly elected government since 1969.
Here is the activity time schedule as agreed upon by the NLF
4 Aug – 6 Aug
• Establishment and deployment of State-Level Electoral Implementation Team (SEIT)
• Approval of the number of traditional elders who will be reporting to the polling stations (instructing the traditional heads)
• Answer question of “If only one candidate is vying for one seat, what should be done?”
• Approval of Terms of References (TOR) for the Conflict Resolution Commission and the appointment of its members
• Consideration of the electoral procedure and the electoral venue for the Somaliland representatives, and for the two houses; Middle Shabelle & Hiran (if they don’t have a regional state of their own prior to the elections);
• Representative commission for the Upper House members for Banadir Region and its deployment
• The establishment and the deployment of the Task Force assigned for the security of the elections;
• Procedure for ensuring the women caucuses of the two houses of the parliament (30%);
• The approval and the consideration as well as the presentation of the Activity Time Schedule and 2016 Elections Budget
The arrangement of the offices for polling stations
14 Aug -20 Aug
• Training the electoral commissions at federal and regional levels
(this period includes arrival and return times)
21 Aug – 24 Aug
• The training of 135 traditional heads
• Issuance of identification letters
25 Aug – 10 Sep
• The 135 traditional heads will forward the list of the names of the envoys
• Solving the disagreements of the envoys
• Recruitment and training for the election staff members
The election of the Upper House Members from the established regional states and the submission of their names – due September 25, 2016 at the latest
• The announcement of the timeline for the candidate registration
• The verification of the candidates and their registration
• The registration of the election observers
The elections for Members of the Federal Parliament
15- 17 October
The verification and the announcement of the final election results
The swearing in of the members of the Federal Parliament by the High Court
The election of the Speaker of Parliament by the federal MPs
The election of the president of the Federal Republic of Somalia