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Somalia presidential poll postponed

By Vitalis Kimutai | Published Mon, August 20th 2012 at 00:00, Updated August 20th 2012 at 16:55 GMT +3

By Vitalis Kimutai

The Presidential poll expected to take place in Somalia has been postponed and a new date is expected to be announced on Monday evening.

“The election has been postponed and we expect it will be held in about two weeks. A definite date will be communicated later today, "Mr Godah Barre, the outgoing Planning and International Cooperation Minister said on telephone from Mogadishu.

Barre said a meeting of the newly selected legislators was being held at the Airport in Mogadishu as a committee overseeing the transition was expected to pick 15 more legislators after an initial list was rejected over failure to meet minimum requirements.

The election will mark an end of the eight year turbulent term of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) which had backing of the United Nations (UN).

Under the new constitution, a 225 member bicameral parliament will be formed, consisting of an upper house seating 54 Senators as well as a lower house with 30 percent of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) earmarked for women.

The President once picked, will select the prime Minister who in turns names the Cabinet.

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On June 23, 2012, the Somali federal and regional leaders approved a draft constitution which was overwhelmingly passed by The National Constituent Assembly on August 1.

In a crowded field of 60 candidates, incumbnet President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Prime Minister Dr Abdiweli Ali, Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden and former Prime Minister Mohamed Gedi are regarded as the front-runners in the race.

A former UNICEF employee Hassan Sheikh Mahamud Mahamud founder of Peace and Development party (PDP), and former head of BBC Somali service Yusuf Galad are the latest entrants in the race. Others are Abdullahi Ahmed Addow, Prof Ahmed Samatar, Abdishakur Warsame,and Mohamed Farmajo. 

The candidates are seeking to occupy the presidential palace- Villa Somalia – which is based in Mogadishu, the country’s capital city that prior to the break out of civil war two decades ago, was known as the “White Pearl of the Indian Ocean”

President Ahmed took office on January 31, 2009 following the resignation of founder TFG president Abdulahi Yusuf.

Dr Ali was picked as the PM on June 19, 2011 following the resignation of Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

Ahmed has the advantage of incumbency over his competitors, Dr Ali enjoys good rapport with cabinet ministers and MPs, while Gedi has been using his old networks to propel him to the top seat with Aden relying on the support of a section of MPs.

“I am seeking to fulfil the pledge to restore law and order in Somalia and build on the gains we have achieved so far in the short period we have been at the helm,” Ahmed said at the weekend.

Dr Ali Sunday evening exuded confidence that he will be elected as the country's next President.

The PM told The Standard on telephone from Mogadishu that he had what it takes to lead the country in its historic pace of setting up a functional and all inclusive government following 21 years of internal strife which has made Somalia fall under the dubious list of failed States.

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