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Presidential elections likely cancelled in Somalia

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Presidential elections likely cancelled in Somalia

Screen Shot 2021 02 07 at 10 41 10 AM
Photo: SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images

Today marks the deadline for Somalia to hold a presidential election.

As emergency talks between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and the leaders of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous regions have failed, an election seems unlikely. The main sticking point in the discussions was the implementation of independent regional elections in the Gedo region of Jubaland, a contested area that has seen repeated clashes between government and local militia forces. Mohamed refused to agree to these elections, stalling the talks.

Uncertainty lingers about the future of the Somali presidential vote. Mohamed is anticipated to ask parliament to extend his term, a move legally permissible under Somali law. However, whether this will be granted is unclear. Opposition presidential candidates have vowed to block the extension, demanding Mohamed step down as soon as his mandate ends today, an unlikely outcome as Mohamed has expressed the necessity of avoiding a power vacuum.

Consequently, expect a sharp increase in tensions between the central government and Jubaland, potentially weakening the government’s already fragile grip on the region. If Mohamed refuses to step down, opposition-led protests in Mogadishu are also likely, possibly destabilising the government if no agreement is reached.

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Photo: AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski

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