Somalia president backs down over election row

Africa

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has backed down from his attempt to extend his tenure for two years – a political move that had sparked clan-based fighting in Mogadishu between soldiers supporting and opposing him.

In an address to the nation, he called for a new presidential election and commended the efforts of his prime minister, who hours earlier had denounced Farmajo’s bid to cling to office following his term expiring in February.

He said he would appear in parliament on Saturday to restore the 17 September 2020 deal on a proposed electoral framework, which would reverse the-year extension pf his term passed by legislators on April 12.

The 2020 agreement looked at a process under which clan elders select delegates to electoral colleges, which in turn choose federal lawmakers who then pick a president.

“I wish to reaffirm, like I have done in the past, that we have always been ready to ensure election takes place Somalia more so, in a timely and peaceful manner,” said the president.

He also urged security agencies to ensure the safety of civilians and avoid “any actions that may lead to insecurity” for the stability of the nation.

Civilians have been fleeing the violence and there have been fears that al-Shabaab Islamist militants would exploit the security vacuum.

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