Reports & Publications
Somali Federalization Monitor Vol. 2 (December 2020) I Read Full Report (.pdf)
In NAI's second issue of the Somali Federalization Monitor we cover two stories the Hirshabelle State elections and the 2021 contentious national electoral process. In our first story we provide a detailed timeline and comprehensive contextual analysis of all the events and issues related to the national elections that have transpired since August 2020. The report further analyses the major issues of dispute and argues that the ambiguity of the electoral agreement and increasingly negative rhetoric have contributed to the electoral impasse. Finally the report provides recommendations for the FGS, FMS and Civil Society going into 2021. In our second story we cover Hirshabelle's recent state electoral process, which has historically converged with the national elections, and has contributed to the state's recurring political and social fragmentation.
Somalia Federal Election 2021: Need for Dialogue, Compromise and Consensus
The mandate of Somalia’s current bicameral parliament ended on December 27, 2020, and the presidential term ends on February 7, 2021. Between July and September 2020, four conferences were held and attended by leaders of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Federal Member States (FMS): three conferences were held in the Galmudug state capital of Dhusamareb, and one conference was held in Mogadishu. In September, FGS President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmajo’ chaired a meeting with five FMS leaders, whereupon they agreed on a revised election model known as, “Electoral Constituency Caucuses”, which was consistent with the 4.5 power-sharing system, and very similar to the 2016 Indirect Elections model. The 2020 election model is a lackluster attempt at broadening the 2016 electoral process; with 101 clan-delegates selecting each federal parliamentarian, thus doubling the number of delegate-voters compared to the 2016 parliamentary election. Dhusamareb Conference 3, which was held in August 2020 and boycotted by Puntland and Jubaland state governments, was a more democratic attempt at increasing electoral legitimacy by broadening delegate-voters of the Indirect Elections to 301 and creating mixed-constituency voting-blocs, instead of exclusively clan-based voters (as in the 2016 election).
The proposed model at Dhusamareb Conference 3 shared many similarities with an election model proposed by NAI in July 2020, entitled, Broad Legitimacy Model; this proposed model called for regional voting-blocs to curb the risk of corruption and to ensure that delegates selecting MPs were basing their vote on merit. However, Puntland and Jubaland refused to attend Dhusamareb Conference 3, citing confidence issues because the administration lacked a Prime Minister to implement the agreement. At the time, then-Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire was sacked in a parliamentary confidence motion. The ousting of Khaire and other political decisions made by the FGS had eroded any confidence Puntland and Jubaland had in the FGS to implement the agreement. It is also worth stating that the FGS did not attend the two previous conferences of Dhusamareb 1 and 2.
In the lead up to Dhusamareb 3, Puntland and Jubaland leaders called for international stakeholders to take part in the Conference and to act as observers of the electoral process. But all of these conferences failed at a lasting agreement, as pressure for a genuine consensus on the electoral process mounted both domestically and internationally. In mid-September, only weeks after the third Dhusamareb Conference, a ‘final’ conference was organized in Mogadishu, which all FGS and FMS officials attended. The stage was set for a path forward built on consensus. All signs pointed to the end of a rocky process, but it did not prove so as the national leaders did not prioritize discussing and agreeing on the specifics but rather holding a conference that ended in a generic and ambiguous agreement.
Overview of FGS-FMS Election Agreement
The final election model agreed upon comprised of 15 points. The main takeaways of the agreement are that elections would occur in two districts in every FMS; 101 delegates will be selecting 275 lower house MPs with the selection of the upper house senators by State Parliaments; the federal government and regional states will appoint a number of independent electoral bodies that will manage the election process. The agreed upon electoral model was very much based on the 2016 election one with slight changes to the number of delegates, selection of upper house and voting locations. It was agreed that the various electoral committees would closely resemble the 2016 election bodies.
However, the agreement was in large part generic and deferred the details of some important issues. The international community applauded the Somali leaders for reaching an agreement, but this would prove premature. Yet the international community was cognizant that “some details of the agreed process are still to be clarified”. But these ‘details’ were largely considered an afterthought by the Somali leaders and stakeholders, indicating a naivety of Somalia’s fractious past electoral processes.......
Somali Federalization Monitor Vol. 2: Read Full Report (.pdf)