After President’s Failed Power Grab, Somalia’s Governors Gather to Sort Out Election Differences


Somalia’s federal system, established after decades of civil war, gives its five states considerable power, including the ability to unilaterally veto any federal measure. The decentralized system gives states wide autonomy but creates problems when national consensus is required, such as deciding how to select a new federal government.

After a bid by Acting Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo to win a two-year term extension failed last month, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has gathered the heads of Somalia’s five provinces to begin the task of organizing new elections. After the fragile electoral system failed to hold a regular election in December, many feared national unity was again at risk as the army began to fracture along tribal lines over support for Farmaajo.

Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu, a spokesperson for the federal government, told reporters that the meeting would begin on Saturday as delegations trickled into the capital of Mogadishu throughout the week. 

The elections would have been Somalia’s third since the 2012 dissolution of the Transitional Federal Government, the second of two attempts at re-establishing centralized power after the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

The Devil is in the Details: Election Reform

The September negotiations created an indirect election system in which traditional elders would select candidates for parliamentary posts, shedding the old one-person-one-vote system. While the five…

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