Talks to end electoral impasse in Somalia fail to strike deal

Talks to end electoral impasse in Somalia fail to strike deal

MOGADISHU, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) — The fifth round of talks aimed at resolving the electoral impasse in Somalia failed to reach an agreement, a government official confirmed on Friday evening.

Osman Dubbe, the Somali information minister said the talks which were held in the central town of Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmudug state, deadlocked over the composition and management of the elections in Jubbaland regional state.

Dubbe said President Mohamed Farmajo and regional leaders from Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Puntland, Jubaland, and South West states have traveled back without resolving the impasse and will have to meet again later to resolve the issues.

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He said the government side made a lot of concessions on all contentious issues including removing certain election committee members who the opposition and regional leaders said are close to the president but this could not break the deadlock.

Failure to resolve the electoral impasse has plunged Somalia into a political crisis since President Farmajo’s term will end on Feb. 8 while the four-year term of parliament ended on Dec. 27, 2020.

The president was due to address both Houses later on Saturday amid reports he may seek for extension of his term.

Under the pre-election deal reached in September 2020, parliamentary elections are to take place in two locations in each federal state within the five federal member states.

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Dubbe said the government cannot withdraw its troops from Gedo, the capital of Jubbaland in the southern region following the recent clashes between Somali army forces and those from the federal territory of Jubbaland which is near the Kenyan border.

He said the government also rejected attempts to establish a new administration in Gedo without any resolution of what led to the clashes.

The consultative meeting was expected to arrive at a way forward for the delayed elections, considered critical for the sake of entrenching the federal system of governance, which is required to appease communities and regions claiming systematic exclusion and marginalization for decades.

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