Somali presidential candidates to meet in Mogadishu over elections

Almost a dozen Somali presidential candidates will gather in the capital, Mogadishu, in a meeting that is expected to discuss the upcoming elections that will be held in the country between December 2020 and 8 February 2021.

The opposition presidential candidates, most of whom returned to Mogadishu today, are expected to come out with a joint statement rejecting the current electoral bodies appointed by the current government to oversee the parliamentary and presidential elections which will be held in December 2020 and February 2021 respectively.

About 10 presidential candidates are expected to attend the meeting. They include Wadajir Party Leader Abdirahman Abdishakur Wwarsame, former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre, Dahir Gelle, Abdiqadir Osoble and Hussein Abdi Halane. Former presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud are also expected to participate.

The presidential candidates have previously voiced their rejection of the electoral committees appointed by the federal government and are expected to reiterate their demand for a neutral poll body to oversee a fair and free election in 8 February 2021.

The opposition leaders accuse President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of appointing intelligence officers and other loyalists in key federal and regional poll bodies in a bid to influence the upcoming elections in his favour, and have vowed to boycott the polls should the government fails to accept neutral electoral bodies to oversee the exercise.