Somali lawmakers facing tough task of electing president

Adan Nuur Madobe made a comeback as speaker of Parliament Wednesday night following his ouster from the same seat in 2010. His election was seen as a victory for the opposition, which marshaled forces to defeat Hassan Abdi Nur, who had the backing of outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

The election was expected to take place Wednesday afternoon, but the process dragged into the night following a dispute over who oversaw security at the election site, a fortified compound at Mogadishu’s main airport.A joint session of the upper and lower houses of Parliament is now slated to elect a new president in the coming weeks. But the road to that milestone is a difficult one.

Professor Mohamed Muse Matan, a lecturer at the University of Somalia, noted that once it was finally held, the election for speaker proceeded peacefully.

So far, Matan said, no one has criticized how the election took place. He also said he had seen no challenges to the election of the speaker. He said that in the political arena, each party must congratulate the speaker, even if its members are not happy with the election results.

But Matan said the process for electing Somalia’s next president was filled with uncertainty.

“I do not want to rush into predicting who will win,” Matan said, “because we do not still see anyone campaigning, we do not see the manifestation of everyone, we do not even know how many people are running for the presidency.”

Re-election run expected

Mohamed, also known as Farmaajo, is expected to run for re-election. His likely opponents including two former presidents, a former prime minister and the current leader of the Puntland region.

Professor Abdiwahab Abdisamad, chairman of the Nairobi-based Institute for Horn of Africa Strategic Studies, said there were advantages to re-electing Farmaajo.

“I think in terms of stability and security of the country, if the current administration wins the elections … I think it is good for the security apparatus because for the last five years, the security organs in the country are getting their salaries, they are well-organized, they are well-trained. He built the capacity of the security,” Abdisamad said.

At the same time, Farmaajo, once Somalia’s most liked president, has lost the support of many people because of his failure to defeat militant group al-Shabab and for allegedly deploying Somali soldiers to Ethiopia to fight Tigrayan rebels.

An attempt last year by the lower house to extend Farmaajo’s term for another two years was also widely unpopular. Parliament backtracked in the face of international pressure and the prospect of war between the government and opposition-backed forces.

Although Somalia witnessed a peaceful transfer of power when Farmaajo was elected in 2017, the buildup of tensions in recent months has left many worried that duplicating that feat will be a challenging task.

Source:- VOA