Mogadishu – Reuters
Hundreds of Somali lawmakers will gather at a high-security airport on Sunday to elect a new president in the elections needed to ensure the impoverished and conflict-ridden country continues to receive financial aid from abroad.
Elections have been postponed more than once due to disagreement within the government, but should be held this month to continue the IMF’s $ 400 million program.
Elections are taking place during the worst drought in Somalia in 40 years and with the backdrop of violence the country is experiencing as usual due to rebel warfare, internal conflict between security forces and clan rivalry.
A suicide bombing claimed by the terrorist movement “Al-Shabab” on Wednesday injured seven people during political rallies near the hangar where members of parliament will meet, and the rebels clashed with government forces on Friday to control the capital of one of the states.
Analysts said it was unlikely that current President Muhammad Abdullah Muhammad would be re-elected after his allies failed to get the top positions in Parliament last month.
This makes two former presidents among the favorites, Sherif Sheikh Ahmed (2009-2012) and Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud (2012-2017).
Analysts say the president of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, Said Abdullahi Dani, also has a good chance.
Of the 36 candidates, only one is a woman, former Foreign Minister Fawzia Yousef Adam. Some 329 MPs from both the House of Representatives and the Senate have the right to vote.
African Union peacekeepers will monitor the site during the planned two or three rounds of voting, which many Somalis say is traditionally influenced more by bribery than politics.
Ahmed, a former leader, took over the presidency of the transitional government in 2009, established the national army and helped oust the Al-Shabab movement from Mogadishu. Mahmoud, a former academic and peace activist, was accused by donors of not doing enough to fight the graft while in office.