The Biden administration has expressed the United States’ support of Somalia’s decision to return to its September 17, 2020 election agreement.
The Somalian House of the People voted unanimously Saturday to formally return to the agreement which allows the country to hold indirect elections.
The vote came less than a month after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmaajo, signed a law extending his term for another two years.
The move was rejected by many and has led to heightened tensions and conflict throughout the country- especially in the capital city of Mogadishu.
Farmaajo’s presidential mandate expired in February, but he did not hold elections, citing concerns over security and the pandemic. His extended presidency and failure to hold elections have garnered criticism from foreign leaders and led to unrest and growing tensions at home.
On Saturday, the U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price issued a statement on behalf of the U.S. government welcoming the development in Somalia.
According to the statement from the Department of State, the United States “welcomes” the decision to return to the September agreement and “commends the President’s announcement that Prime Minister Roble will lead the Federal Government’s efforts to finalize the agreement and oversee implementation of the electoral process, including security arrangements.”
The decision to revert to the existing election agreement is hoped to help de-escalate tensions in Somalia, specifically Mogadishu which has recently been subject to gunfire and conflict between government forces and opposition leaders.
Somalia is at a crucial time in its history and is facing one of its worst political crises in recent years. As the country recovers from decades of civil war, democracy must be made a priority in order to ensure stability going forward.
The implementation of regular and free elections is fundamentally important in ensuring the legitimacy of leaders and promoting a more democratic Somalia, a country that has struggled to maintain a stable and upstanding governmental system but has shown hope of progress.
“We call on the parties to the agreement to meet immediately without preconditions to finalize electoral arrangements and begin implementation in a collaborative and transparent manner. The United States stands ready to support the conduct of elections as soon as possible,” said U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.