Somalia Lawmakers Vote to Extend President Farmajo’s Mandate

Somalia’s lawmakers voted to extend the mandate of the government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi by two years in a bid to resolve a political crisis after the nation failed to hold a scheduled vote in February.

A total 149 members of parliament, or 54% of all lawmakers, voted for the move, according to Speaker Mohamed Mursal Sheikh. The lawmakers said the nation should prepare for universal suffrage as per the law, abandoning a September 2020 deal in which federal and regional authorities agreed an interim plan of voting through electoral colleges.

While a four-year term for the president commonly known as Farmajo ended on Feb. 8, he’s remained in office amid disagreements with the opposition over the electoral process. They accuse him of deploying his supporters in national and regional electoral bodies as he plans to seek a second term.

“The president has deliberately chosen to go for a term extension” after walking away from talks with other political stakeholders for a negotiated settlement, Hassan Ali Khayre, a former prime minister who plans to run for president told reporters after the vote on Monday. The opposition will protest the extension, he said.

Somalia, which won a debt-relief accord with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank last year, is struggling to rebuild its economy after two decades of civil war. The nation is battling the coronavirus pandemic, a desert-locust plague and an insurgency by al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked group opposed elections.

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