By Paulo Santos, Horn of Africa Analyst

In a recent political twist, Somalia’s Federal Member State (FMS) leaders have announced that adopting a “one person, one vote” electoral system is currently not viable for the country. This significant announcement was made in Dhusamareb, Galmudug’s administrative hub, where the leaders met and released a detailed communiqué.

At the heart of this stance is a previous statement by Halima Yarey, chairwoman of the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC). Yarey informed the parliament earlier this year that introducing such an electoral system would require a 13-month preparation window to ensure credible polls.

With elections looming on the horizon, the FMS leaders are eager to engage in discussions with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, commonly referred to as Farmajo, and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire. Their collective aim is to find a mutually agreeable electoral model through political negotiations. It’s a crucial step, especially since both the President and the PM have vocally endorsed their commitment to holding elections on time, a decision supported by the nation’s constitution.

PM Khaire, in particular, has expressed concerns, warning of potential political and constitutional crises if the elections face delays.

As for the current electoral model, Somalia seems set to retain its 2016 framework. Under this structure, 14,025 delegates are tasked with choosing the 275 Members of Parliament (MPs). These MPs then play a pivotal role in electing the next president. With President Farmajo’s term concluding in February 2020 and the parliament’s term ending on December 27th, the political clock is ticking.

Looking ahead, Dhusamareb has been selected as the venue for vital talks between federal and regional leaders. This move is a testament to the importance of fostering dialogue and collaboration in these critical times.

As Somalia navigates its electoral complexities, it’s evident that a delicate balance between democratic aspirations and on-ground realities must be struck. The coming months promise intense negotiations and debates as the nation works towards a representative electoral system.

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