U.N. praises Somalia deal on model for electoral process

Feb 04, 2016 The UN recently commended Somalia’s government for reaching an agreement on a model for the country’s electoral process to form a bicameral federal parliament this year.

The United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating, said the model envisages a lower house of 275 members, based on a current power-sharing formula between clans, and an upper house of 54 members.

While addressing Security Council members in New York via video link, Keating said:

“This morning a decision was taken by the Somali Cabinet on the electoral model to be used later this year. This is the culmination of almost six months intense consultations. It may be a watershed moment, marking the growing political maturity of a federal Somalia,”

Somalia, who is slowly recovering from two decades of conflict, has seen a military campaign drive Islamist rebels out of major strongholds across the country.

African Union troops, now numbering about 22,000 from several African nations, have spent nearly a decade battling al Shabaab insurgents.

Kenyan troops, who form part of an African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM), took heavy losses when al Shabaab launched a dawn raid on their camp near the Kenyan border in January.

Paying tribute to the incidence, Keating said:

“I pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of AMISOM and its troops and to the courage of the Somali people. Kenya has vowed not to be deterred by the attack against its soldiers. Equally, Somalis are neither cowed nor deflected from their goals by Al-Shabaab’s atrocities,”

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