Somali leaders are on the verge of naming a new parliament that is supposed to elect a president by Monday, but it’s hard to find any ordinary Somalis excited by the political changes: They don’t have the right to vote. Monday marks the end of eight years of rule by a U.N.-backed leadership structure known as the Transitional Federal Government. Somali leaders this weekend are finalizing the names on a new 275-member parliament, whose members are supposed to vote in a new president. About 24 candidates are running for president. The president will then choose a prime minister. Many of the candidates for president – including current President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and the parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden – already serve in a government that has been hammered by corruption allegations. Behind-the-scenes political efforts involving bribes and intimidation appear to have marred the selection of the parliament. The U.N. has warned repeatedly of “spoilers” in the political process. “I don’t think there’ll be a difference because the same people are still here and the election may not be fair,” said Abdinur Yusuf, a Mogadishu resident. “We only care about stability, so we pray peace will prevail and corruption will come to an end.”
Somalia’s feuding leaders agreed on Thursday to extend the mandate of both government and parliament for a year and hold elections by August next year.
The mandate for Somalia’s latest transitional government was meant to expire in August but President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, a former Islamist rebel leader, and speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, who covets the top job, had been at loggerheads over what should happen then.
“We agree to defer elections of the President and the Speaker and his deputies for twelve months after August,” a deal signed by the Somali president and speaker in Uganda said.