Somali lawmakers start voting for president

September 10, 2012 1:30 pm


Somalia’s new parliamentary speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari/AFP
MOGADISHU, Sep 10 – Somalia’s lawmakers on Monday began electing a new president, in what the UN has billed as a key step towards restoring peace in a nation that has lacked an effective central government for two decades.

Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari, elected by his peers in August, was the first to cast his vote in the presidential poll where 25 candidates are in the running, including the outgoing transitional president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

The election is the final stage of a UN-backed process to set up a new administration for the war-torn country.

The new parliamentarians, selected last month by a group of traditional elders, rose one after the other to cast their ballots in a packed room at the police academy.

A candidate needs to take two-thirds of the vote to win outright, otherwise the top four candidates will go into a second round, with a third round for the final two. The final winner will be selected by a simple majority.

Each candidate had to pay $10,000 (Sh842,000) to enter the race.

Each candidate had to pay $10,000 (Sh842,000) to enter the race.

The election has been delayed several times, missing an August 20 deadline, and international pressure has increased on parliament to choose a president swiftly.

The UN’s special representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, said Monday said that while obstacles remain, the presidential election will “mark another milestone in the country’s political process”.

He called on legislators to select “the best candidate as the leader for their nation”.


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