Farmajo invites allied regional leaders for consultative meeting on elections

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Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has invited the leaders of Galmudug and Hirshabelle regional states for a meeting on ongoing elections amid a visit by the Prime Minister to the United Arab Emirates.

The two regional presidents Ahmed Qoorqoor and Abdiasis Laftagaren arrived in the capital, Mogadishu this week amid concerns raised about malpractice in the ongoing parliamentary polls, some which were held by their states.

Laftagaren earlier announced that he would begin polls in the coastal town of Barawe, a move that could tighten the noose on other state leaders, including Puntland and Jubaland presidents who are willing to hold elections in one location.

The three key allies, Farmajo, Qoorqoor and Laftagaren are due to discuss a number of issues, including efforts aimed at sweeping to victory as many loyalists of the President as possible during the parliamentary elections. There are reports that Qoorqoor has informed opposition presidential candidates that he would run for president in the upcoming election, a move many say is a ruse designed to cover alleged election heist made by his adminstration in favor of Farmajo.

In a secret tripartite agreement, Farmajo had agreed to appoint Qoorqoor as his Prime Minister and ensure that Laftagaren is elected as parliament speaker if he wins election. Despite recent deal between the leaders of the National Consultative Council to course-correct polls, election-rigging continues and dozens of candidates have so far been blocked from running.

“Reports of rigged elections from Hirshabelle, denying candidates participation and other fraudulent practices are a cause for concern,” opposition presidential candidate Abdinur Sheikh Mohamed said. “Somalia will remain in this political morass until dignified MPs join parliament.”

In some of the regional states, election manipulation has triggered violence. A candidate has been wounded after gunmen opened fire on his vehicle in Puntland on Tuesday following tensions over his rivals barred from participating in the vote.

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