Somalia’s newly elected parliament convened for the first time on Saturday, paving the way for them to complete the process of appointing a new president of Somalia. The parliamentary elections should have been completed before incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s term expired in February 2021.
Elections in Somalia follow a complex indirect model, whereby 54 senators are elected by five state assemblies and 275 members of Somalia’s Lower House of Parliament are elected by state legislatures and clan delegates. Later on, they vote for a president on a secret ballot. A date for selecting the new president has yet to be set.
Nearly 300 Somali lawmakers were sworn into office on Thursday after a chaotic voting, deadly violence, and a power struggle between the current president and the prime minister. The United Nations (UN), the African Union assignment in Somalia, the European Union (EU) and a number of overseas governments also welcomed the latest development.
In April 2021, opposition fighters opened fire in the streets of Mogadishu when president Mohamed decided to extend his term without holding fresh elections in the country. Under pressure from the international community, he appointed Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to carry forward his term. However, a bitter rivalry between the two men led to a delay in the election process.
Earlier, Mohamed’s office said that the president had decided to suspend Prime Minister Roble as he was linked to corruption. However, Roble hit back and said the president was trying to take over the office of the prime minister by force. Roble also accused the president of using the armed forces to exert influence over the election process.
The disagreements between the government and the opposition resulted in delays in the election. A long-running rivalry between the federal government and regional state leaders caused political instability in Somalia.