8 things you need to know about Somalia’s presidential election
Voting is underway in Somalia’s groundbreaking presidential election in a secure Air Force base in capital, Mogadishu. After a challenging electoral process marred by a lack of credibility, the elections which got postponed three times finally got a fixed date.
Somalia’s elections are an exclusive process given their ethnic nature. The voting system requires lawmakers elected through a clan of elders, instead of an inclusive process with Somali citizens.
Out of 24 candidates vying for the presidency, 16 own foreign passports which is a pervasive feature of the political class in Somalia. More than 100 of the nation’s 275 legislators own foreign passports.
The election is held amid a security lockdown that has closed Mogadishu’s international airport and cleared major streets.
Here are 8 things you need to know about the elections:
- The legislators voting — 275 members of the lower legislative house and 54 senators are selected by the country’s powerful, intricate network of clans
- Marqaati, a Mogadishu based anti-corruption group revealed in a report that votes are being sold for up to $30,000 apiece, making it the most expensive election, per vote in history
- Somalia’s constitution doesn’t specify eligibility of foreign passport holders running for presidency, as long as the candidate is a Somali citizen and a Muslim. As long as a candidate is born in Somalia and their father can trace his lineage to a Somali clan, their passport becomes a non-issue
- Members of the upper and lower legislative houses dropped their ballots into clear boxes in the first round with 21 candidates for president
- Fears of attacks by extremist group al-Shabab limited the election to the country’s legislators who are voting in a heavily guarded Air Force base in Mogadishu
- Rounds of voting will narrow the 21 candidates to one winner. Some candidates have dropped from the race
- Somalia is trying to put together its first fully functioning central government in a quarter-century, due to incessant warlord-led conflicts, famine and al-Shabab attacks
- Somalia’s instability landed it among the seven Muslim-majority countries affected by Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration