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Somalia

A fresh presidential vote now due by the end of July

A locally brokered deal has unblocked the impasse over indirect elections but $15 million will be needed to finance them

Mediators may have staved off another crisis after reaching agreement between President Mohamed Abdallah Mohamed 'Farmajo's' government and federal state leaders that paves the way for delayed indirect elections due to be held within the next two months.

Farmajo, who had sought to use the impasse to get Parliament to give him a two-year term extension with the promise of elections in 2023, was forced to back down following international criticism and clashes between rival factions of the security forces (AC Vol 62 No 5, Battle lines in the capital).

The United States and European Union had issued stark warnings in recent weeks that they would withdraw budget support and may impose sanctions on senior officials should an election timetable not be agreed.

Brokering a deal at the end of a week of talks was an achievement for Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble who had been personally tasked on the matter by President Farmajo. It also hands the President Farmajo, increasingly isolated at home and abroad, a political lifeline (AC Vol 62 No 10, Edging Farmajo towards the exit). But time is short and goodwill is in short supply. Roble may decide he has a brighter future as a presidential candidate in his own right.

Still to be resolved is how the delegate system who will vote for MPs, who in turn will vote for the President, will work, along with security arrangements that are expected to cost in the region of $50m, cash which the international community will be expected to stump up. The voting system had been one of the factors which prompted the collapse of plans to hold elections in February this year, when Farmajo's term officially ended.



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