Somalia is holding its presidential election this Sunday, taking place 15 months after the original February 8, 2021 schedule. Nonetheless, according to the country’s international partners, who see it as an opportunity, it’s a positive step and much-needed legitimacy to rebuild the country after years of uncertainty.
Here are the basics of this election…< /p>
What kind of elections will be held on Sunday?
Somalia will hold indirect elections again. The original plan was to introduce universal suffrage for the first time in 50 years, but that fell through as security, legal and financial realities took hold ahead of the elections.
Somalia needed a constitution to provide a legal framework to create constituencies and votes. That was not achieved. Instead, officials resorted to indirect elections, in which elected lawmakers sit together in the upper and lower houses to secretly elect a president.
The upper house has 54 senators, while the lower house has 275 MPs. These lawmakers were elected by specially selected delegates in each of the five states based on a delicate clan balancing act.
Read:Somalia parliament approves delegate vote
Who is running?
This election has attracted the most candidates in Somalia’s history. According to a list released by Somalia’s parliamentary taskforce for presidential elections, 39 candidates had entered the running by Tuesday’s deadline. Only one woman is in the running.
They hail from the main clans of Somalia: Hawiye, Darod, Dir and Digit & Mirifle, also known as Rahanweyn.
Read:39 contenders for Somalia Presidency
Most of the candidates are new to the race, but it includes veteran politicians as well. The incumbent Mohamed Farmaajo will defend his seat against his predecessor Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President from 2009 to 2012.
Other key contenders are Puntland State President Said Abdullahi Deni; Hassan Ali Khaire, Prime Minister of Farmaajo until July 2020; and Abdishakur Abdirahman Warsame, a former planning minister who became a vocal critic of Farmaajo. The race also includes Fawzia Yusuf Adam, a former foreign minister in Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s government and the only female candidate; and Abdulkadir Osoble, a former chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.
Read:The search of Somalia’s ex-minister tests the rigid patriarchy
The full list of 39 is posted at the bottom of this article. And each of those contestants paid $40,000 in fees for the contest. None of them bothered to raise the money, signaling both the intention and the wealth of the contenders. However, critics have argued that the high cost of appeals locks out some qualified candidates. But poll organizers say the fee is lower than in 2017, when it cost $50,000 to enter the race.
What are the rules?< p>Aside from the registration fee, candidates were told that they would first need to get confirmation from at least 20 lawmakers. This is also the minimum number of votes required to remain in the running after Sunday’s first round.
The candidates must also be Muslims, Somali citizens aged 40 or over and of sound mind . However, a candidate can have multiple nationalities. Incumbent Farmaajo was elected while holding American citizenship. However, in 2019 he announced that he had renounced it.
Read:Farmaajo Drops US Citizenship, But Will It Lead To Victory?
The registered candidates are expected to speak at a joint session of Parliament. They each have 20 minutes to put forward their ideas and explain why they should be elected.
On voting day, the 329 MPs each have one vote. A candidate can win an overall election if he receives 75 percent of the votes in round one. However, this has never happened in Somalia, and elections routinely go over three rounds.
In 2017, Farmaajo went neck and neck with Mohamud in the third round before the latter conceded defeat. If no one gets the majority of votes in round one, the election is repeated under the same conditions, except that the candidates who do not get 20 or more votes are eliminated from that round.
If nobody gets the If the required number of votes is reached, the race can proceed to the third round, in which the winner will be determined between the candidates with the highest and the second highest number of points by simple majority.
What chances do candidates have?
First, the indirect elections in Somalia in the past have caused surprises. No incumbent has defended his seat in all recent indirect elections, and each new poll has produced a newcomer as president.
Today, as in the past, the factors that produced winners are the same: clan communities, Financial strength and strong networks among voting delegates or legislators.
Based on this, Farmaajo, Mohamud, Ahmed, Deni and Khaire can pass the first round, but none of them are guaranteed victory.
Second, the ability to persuade competitors to drop out and endorse a candidate can play a major role. As in the past, some candidates are expected to drop out before they are officially removed.
Additionally, candidates coming from the same clans routinely band together when they realize they will share votes when they ran against each other. In 2017, Mohamud and Ahmed, both from the larger Hawiye clan, split the votes allowing Farmaajo to win from the larger Darod clan.
This time Farmaajo’s own competition faces a stronger challenge from Deni, he’s from his Darod clan too. Deni’s initial advantage is that he nominated parliamentary candidates from Puntland and carefully eliminated perceived opponents. After MPs were elected, he expressed an interest in the top seat, even though it had been a poorly kept secret. However, Farmaajo still enjoys power and connections to outside friends who can help oil his campaign machinery.
Read: Puntland leader Deni: New entrant in the race for the Presidency of Somalia
The bigger problem is that candidates may have less chance if they come from clans that have already taken over the speakership of the two chambers of parliament. Traditionally, clan balancing means that the legislature and executive cannot be run by the same clan, although it is not illegal to do so.
What do the candidates say? ?
Farmaajo has said that he would like to continue the presidency and improve the country’s institutions.
“I am ready to continue and complete the path of change in our beloved Motherland by I’m doing something for my fellow citizens for another four years,” he said Tuesday after registering for the race. He says he implemented “widespread reforms” during his tenure, although his opponents deny that characterization.
Deni called Farmaajo’s rule “failed, divisive policies of the past.” In his published manifesto, he vowed to build a Somalia “with a government that will act within the confines of our constitution and federal structure and lift the Somali people out of poverty and integrity.”
Other contenders have scoffed Farmaajo for failing to tame al-Shabaab, rampant corruption and intolerance. “Farmaajo pledged to eradicate al-Shabaab in Somalia in just two years when he took office in 2017. He also promised victims of terrorism that his government would quickly compensate them. Still, this proved another broken promise,” said Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, his predecessor.
Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who is credited with al-Shabaab’s initial defeat in the capital Mogadishu, says the government has settled sided with terrorist groups, including spreading propaganda, something he argues has made government agencies complicit in terrorism.
< p>Presidential candidates:
- Sharif Sheikh Ahmed
- Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud
- Dahir Mahamud Gelle
- Abdikadir Osoble Ali
- Abdullahi Ali Hassan
- Jamaal Ibraahim Abdi
- Adow Aali Gees
- Mahamed Abdirahman Sirin
- Omar Aabdukadi r Ahmed
- Jibril Ibrahim Abdule
- Nu cmaan Sheikh Tuurre
- Thabit Abdi Mahamed
- Abdirahman Abdishakur
- Abdirahman Ablaal
- Said Isse Mahamoud
- Ahmed Geele Haaf
- Mahad Ahmed Diriye
- Mahamud Dahir Aweys
- Abdiarim Hussein Guled
- Hassan Ali Khaire
- Abdukadir Jahwayn
- Ismaan Hassan Wehliye
- Said Abdbdullahi Deni
- Mohamed Amin Faarax
- Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo
- Abdi Ali Hassan
- Abdi Adan Hoosow
- Bashir Haji Ali
- Abdirahman Mohamed< /li>
- Ridwaan Hirsi Mohamed
- Fawzia Yusuf Adam
- Mukhtar Mohamed Said
- Abdukadir Sheikh Ali Bagdadi
- Sakariye Mahmud Haji
- Dr. Hussein Abdi Nunow
- Abdinur Sheikh Mohamed
- Abukar Adan Ade
< li class="align--justify">Abdinassir Abdull
< li class="align--justify">Mohamed Abdi Kuusow