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Somalia announces presidential election on Feb. 8, after delays

  • The electoral commission of Somalia has announced February 8 to be the date for long-awaited presidential election after four delays and several allegations. The electoral commission said that registrations of candidates for presidential poll will start on Thursday.

    The development came in following a series of negotiations by the electoral commission and the newly elected members of the parliament, who were sworn in at the end of December.

    Of late, the elections in Somalia have seen numerous delays wherein the last presidential election date was set for December 28 which was later postponed until January. Also there have been allegations of bribery, fraud, intimidation of the voters and violence.

    However, the opposition candidates have blamed the government of dominating the electoral process.

    Noticeably the president in Somalia isn’t elected by popular vote, but nearly 14 thousand delegates selected by their clans decide on parliament members, who then elect the president.

    This nation located in Horn of Africa has been trying to rebuild after recently establishing its first functioning central government since 1991. The delayed elections have been a major concern for the international community.

    As the date was announced, a new violence claimed 28 lives in a bombing attack on the Dayah Hotel in Mogadishu. The attack took place at a site close to president’s residence which has been frequently visited by Somali lawmakers. Close to five journalists were also injured in the attack, as per the spokesperson for UN assistance Mission in this nation. The spokesman, Joseph Contreras, asserted that the violence was a purposeful attempt to wreck Somalia’s electoral process, and reveals the anger of violent extremists against the voting for a new parliament.

    Al-Shabaab militants have taken the responsibility for the attack. Both the United Nations and the African Union condemned the attack.