James Swan, United Nations Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOME), summarizing the progress made since the signing of the Election Implementation Agreement, on May 27.
It also highlighted outstanding challenges that require urgent support from the international community, including the dire humanitarian situation exacerbated by drought, floods and COVID-19 A pandemic, and the dangerous growing threat posed by the terrorist group Al-Shabab.
Advance election plans
After a prolonged period of uncertainty and rising tensions, the long-awaited elections in Somalia are now moving forward, albeit somewhat behind schedule,” Mr. Swan told the ambassadors.
Noting that Prime Minister Rupel has shown strong leadership and initiative in moving the process forward, he said the National Consultative Council held regular meetings on key issues related to the implementation of the electoral agreement.
Election management bodies have also been established at the federal and state levels, and the National Election Security Commission has begun its work.
Meanwhile, the advocacy committee – whose chair also briefed the board on Thursday – has been set up in large part to ensure the agreed 30 percent quota for women’s representation in the upcoming federal election is met.
months of turmoil
The progress outlined Thursday comes on the heels of a political crisis earlier this year, which threatened very fragile state-building progress in Somalia. It was hardly avoided.
Talks between the federal government and the heads of federal member states collapsed in April, and the lower house of the Somali parliament adopted a “special law” to abandon the previous electoral agreement, reached in September 2020.
Among other things, the law sought to extend the mandates of current office-holders for up to two more years.
However, opposition to these changes led to violent clashes in late April, with the House of Representatives Reverse Its own law on May 1 and leaders meet to calm tensions.
Additional progress required
While commending the steps taken, Mr. Swan highlighted the need for additional progress in several priority areas, including more extensive and detailed preparations for election security and clarity on plans to secure a 30 per cent quota for women.
The United Nations is working with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Election Management Committees to implement the 27 May Agreement and preparations for the elections, including through technical and logistical support and the coordination of international financial resources.
UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Recently, an agreement was signed with the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure that donor funds contributed by UN member states are available for use by the electoral management bodies in Somalia.
Mr. Swan stressed that all this work must continue in order to effectively address the dire humanitarian situation in Somalia, which is increasingly exacerbated by the effects of climate change – particularly cycles of droughts and floods – and the ongoing threat of Al-Shabab terrorist attacks.