Somalia’s Elections Completion Vital Now More than Ever

The UN Special Representative for Somalia informed the Security Council on Wednesday that while progress has been made in the country’s electoral process, it has been gradual and uneven. 

James Swan applauded the conclusion of the indirect elections for Somalia’s Federal Parliament’s Upper House, which began in July, and the start of the elections for the lower body, known as the House of the People. 

Mr. Swan noted that while 14 women will be among the 54 Senators in the Upper House, representing 26% of legislators, this percentage falls short of the 30% target for women’s representation. 

Mr. Swan urged all parties involved to move rapidly to complete the lower house elections before the year’s end. 

The UN, according to the ambassador, would continue to engage and assist the indirect elections, which will see clan members elect lawmakers who will then vote for the president. 

So yet, only two of the 275 seats in the lower house have been filled, with 30 % earmarked for women. 

Asha Abdulle Siyad, a Somali women’s rights activist who also spoke at the Council, has been a vocal supporter of the 30%  quota. 

So far this year, about 1,000 people have been killed or injured in armed conflict, with the group accounting for nearly two-thirds of all civilian deaths. 

Mr. Swan expressed respect to the Somali security forces and troops who fight Al-Shabaab on a daily basis as part of the African Union’s AMISOM deployment in the country. 

The insurgents have increased attacks, ambushes, suicide bombers, and targeted assassinations of government leaders, AMISOM chief Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira told the ambassadors. 

The mission’s mandate expires on December 31, and a plan is in the works to gradually shift security responsibility from AMISOM to the Somali Security Forces. 

Mr. Madeira urged for the new mission’s negotiations to be completed as soon as possible, stating that the discussions will address matters such as improved coordination and collaboration, complementary approaches, long-term information sharing, and funding.