Gloves off as international community talks tough on election irregularities
International community urges National Leadership Forum to uphold accountability, transparency and legitimacy of electoral process
Mogadishu, 21 December 2016 – The United Nations, African Union, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States have closely followed the work of the Independent Electoral Dispute Resolution Mechanism (IEDRM) in light of the many reports of serious irregularities during the electoral process, including bribery, intimidation, kidnappings, manipulation of delegate lists and failure to comply with the mandatory requirement to reserve every third seat for women candidates.
International partners requested an explanation of how the 24 seats that were under consideration by the IEDRM had been reduced to eleven. They emphasized that the IEDRM has a responsibility to make public the underlying logic and criteria used to exclude some seats and include others on the list of those that should be re-run.
International partners emphasized to the National Leadership Forum (NLF) and the IEDRM that, in their view, the gravity of the irregularities uncovered should be the basis for determining the electoral results that have to be nullified and re-contested.
Complainants have expressed frustration about the lack of feedback from the IEDRM. The Somali public, through social media and other means of communication, are also expressing their anxiety about the lack of information on the decisions of the IEDRM.
For the sake of accountability, transparency and credibility, international partners call upon the IEDRM to publicize the complaints and how it processed them. We also call upon the NLF, as the highest authority that created the IEDRM and which has the responsibility to safeguard the legitimacy of the electoral process, to work with the IEDRM to ensure accountability for the most egregious cases of electoral abuse. The electoral process must now be concluded swiftly and in a successful and credible manner.
The international partners emphasize that failure by the NLF to take action against serious electoral abuses will have implications for the legitimacy of the government that will emerge from this process and, consequently, its relationship with the international community. Allowing impunity to prevail reflects badly on all NLF members and would set a negative precedent for the 2020 elections.
“The NLF should reach a decision on the disputed seats in the House of the People in a prompt and fair manner that is broadly acceptable to the people of Somalia and the international community,” said Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Somalia. “Any attempt to gloss over the irregularities that plagued some of the voting will not only affect the acceptability of the outcome of the electoral process and compromise the legitimacy of the anticipated new government, but also play into the hands of spoilers and violent extremists bent on discrediting a process that has already achieved greater inclusiveness and more women’s representation in Somali politics.”