Somalia: Federal Govt, Puntland agree on election model

Puntland Government in northern Somalia has announced that it has backed down in national poll row with UN-backed central government following days of intense deliberations, Garowe Online reports.

On Sunday evening, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, and Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali have signed the agreement hailed as landmark by visiting regional and international diplomats in the state capital of Garowe.

Straddling a key maritime border, and emboldened by recent victory over stray boatloads of militants, Puntland appeared reluctant at the onset of sticky political talks, later eased by presence of U.N.

Somalia envoy Michael Keating, AU’s Francisco Madiera, top EU diplomat Michele Cervone d’Urso, IGAD Chief Mahboub Maalin, its Ambassador Mohamed AbdiAfey, and Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister and Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers Dr. Tedros Adhanom. In January, Puntland signaled a defiant note after Federal Member States rallied around Mogadishu-based federal government in a plan to conduct selection and election process within the framework of traditional 4.5 power sharing formula.

Puntland’s objection prompted for a group of diplomats led by the newly appointed UN envoy Ambassador Michael Keating to push ahead with concerted endeavor. Somalia —whose economy was battered by years of deadly internal strife—is heavily reliant on international donors for support to budget expenditures.

The four-point agreement covers blueprint for 2016 Electoral Process, Upper House, 2020 Roadmap, and implementation of the agreement signed between Mogadishu and Garowe, two parties pitted by long running disputes for years.

The two sides agreed to the legitimacy of 4.5, on which the selection of members of Lower and Upper House will be based later this year, while stressing that the traditional model will fade into disuse with the upcoming elections.

Federal Member States and the national government will form an inclusive electoral board for 2016, according to the deal.