The second plenary of the National Consultative Forum on the 2016 electoral process opened in the Somali capital with national and regional leaders reviewing the outcome of public consultations across Somalia and within the diaspora and deliberating on the most appropriate and inclusive electoral process for 2016.
Representatives from the federal government and federal parliament, emerging and existing federal member states, civil society, women and youth met to discuss how to elect members of the legislature and the executive branch when their mandates expire next year.
In November and early this month, public consultations took place across Somalia’s regions and among Somalis in the diaspora, during which delegates systematically discussed four different options for the electoral process.
The forum opened with remarks by the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the Speaker of the Federal Parliament, Mohammad Sheikh Osman (Jawari), the Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, and presidents and representatives of existing and emerging states.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, and several members of the diplomatic corps also attended the forum.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said the gathering was a critical step in the country’s political history and called for fruitful deliberations in line with the aspirations of the Somali people: “The people of Somalia have spoken and expressed their views. [P]eople want their views to be taken into consideration, and that is what should be done,” the Federal President declared.
Parliament Speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman urged the delegates to put aside their individual interests and work for the common good of Somalia and the Somali people.
Addressing the forum, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke explained that the consultations were carried out widely to give Somalis, including those in the diaspora, the opportunity to air their views.
Nicholas Kay described the forum as historic and appealed for compromise and consensus among the leaders to move the process forward: “The process will not be perfect. It will not achieve everything for everyone. Indeed it will not achieve everything for anyone. But everyone will get something. Reaching a compromise on an electoral model that meets the most essential requirements and can be implemented next year is a critical step on the road towards your ultimate goal: universal elections,” stressed the SRSG .