Voting to elect Somali president goes to second round

15 May 2022, 17:24

Somalia Presidential Vote
Somalia Presidential Vote. Picture: PA

Politicians are choosing the country’s next president in the capital Mogadishu, which is under lockdown measures to prevent militant attacks.

Somalia’s presidential vote is proceeding to a second round after the first round of voting did not produce a decisive winner.

Legislators are choosing the country’s next president in the capital, Mogadishu, which is under lockdown measures aimed at preventing deadly militant attacks.

The top four candidates out of 36 presidential aspirants will be on the ballot in the next round: incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, former Prime Minister Hassan Khaire and regional leader Said Dani.

Mr Dani, president of Puntland state, led the first round of balloting.

Voting was taking place inside a tent in an airport hangar within the Halane military camp, which is protected by African Union peacekeepers.

The voting process is expected to last until late on Sunday, especially if a third round of balloting are needed.

Somalia Presidential Vote
Ugandan peacekeepers with the African Transition Mission in Somalia next to their armored vehicle, with a campaign poster for presidential candidate Ahmed Abdullahi Samow above, on a street in Mogadishu, Somalia (Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP)

To discourage extremist violence from disrupting the elections, Somali police put Mogadishu, the scene of regular attacks by the Islamic rebel group al-Shabab, under a lockdown that started at 9pm on Saturday.

It means most residents must stay at home until the lockdown lifts on Monday morning, according to police.

“Movements are entirely prohibited, including traffic, businesses, schools and even people,” said police spokesman Abdifatah Adan Hassan.

Analysts say the current president Mohamed — who is also known as Farmaajo because of his appetite for Italian cheese — faces an uphill battle to be reelected. No sitting president has ever won reelection in the Horn of Africa nation, where rival clans battle intensely for political power.

The goal of a direct, one-person-one-vote election in Somalia, which has a population of 12 million, remains elusive largely because of the widespread extremist violence.

Authorities had planned a direct election this time but the federal government and states agreed on another “indirect election”, with parliamentarians elected by community leaders — delegates of powerful clans — in each member state.

All 329 members of both chambers of parliament will pick the president by secret ballot.

“We urge the parliamentarians to vote their conscience by choosing the candidate they believe offers the policies and leadership qualities to advance peace, stability, prosperity and sound governance in the years ahead,” the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia and others in the international community said in a statement on Saturday.

Somalia Presidential Vote
Somali lawmakers are checked by security forces as they arrive to cast their vote in the presidential election, at the Halane military camp which is protected by African Union peacekeepers, in Mogadishu (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Despite its persistent insecurity, Somalia has had peaceful changes of leadership every four years since 2000, and it has the distinction of having Africa’s first democratically elected president to peacefully step down, Aden Abdulle Osman in 1967.

Mohamed’s four-year term expired in February 2021, but he stayed in office after the lower house of parliament approved a two-year extension of his mandate and that of the federal government, drawing fury from Senate leaders and criticism from the international community.

The poll delay triggered an exchange of gunfire in April 2021 between soldiers loyal to the government and others angry over what they saw as the president’s unlawful extension of his mandate.

Somalia began to fall apart in 1991, when warlords ousted dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other. Years of conflict and al-Shabab attacks, along with famine, have shattered the country which has a long, strategic coastline by the Indian Ocean.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Oscar Pistorius has met with the father of Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius meets victim Reeva Steenkamp's father in a bid for parole

North Korea has blamed its Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons coming from South Korea.

North Korea blames Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons from South

Boris Johnson said Putin does not have to give up power for there to be peace in Ukraine

Putin's made more than 30 nuke threats during Ukraine invasion, Boris tells LBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back at western leaders for their lack of "machismo" and said it would be ‘disgusting’ to see Boris Johnson topless.

Putin mocks G7 leaders' lack of 'machismo' and says PM would look 'disgusting' topless

Ukraine has retaken Snake Island after Moscow's troops abandoned the strategic outpost in what Russia's Defence Ministry has described as a 'goodwill gesture'.

'Kaboom!' Ukraine celebrates Putin's humiliation as Russia retreats from Snake Island

President Joe Biden listens as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks

Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in as US Supreme Court justice

An investigator works outside the Bataclan concert hall (Christophe Ena/PA)

Life without parole for surviving extremist who carried out Paris attacks

A shark is seen swimming across a sand bar (Phil Marcelo/AP)

Great white sharks head to Cape Cod as busy tourist season gets under way

Police outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris (Catherine Wylie/PA)

Men convicted of involvement in 2015 terror attacks in Paris

Salah Abdeslam is believed to be the only surviving member of the group that killed 130 people in the 2015 Paris attacks

Islamic State member found guilty of mass murder for 2015 Paris terror attacks

Vatican Pope Pelosi

Pro-choice Nancy Pelosi receives communion at Vatican despite home city ban

Workers clear debris at the Kremenchuk shopping centre damaged in the Russian rocket attack

Search ongoing for 20 missing after Russian strike on Ukraine shopping centre

People attend a community vigil for the dozens of people found dead in a trailer in San Antonio

‘Difficult process’ identifying Texas lorry trailer death victims – authorities

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

US abortion ruling ‘a setback’ that will cost lives, says WHO chief

Dutch farmers protesting against government plans gather for a demonstration at Stroe

Dutch PM condemns farmers’ protests at minister’s home

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is sworn in by committee chairman Bennie Thompson

Trump dismissed January 6 threats and wanted to join crowd, says former aide