UN envoy urges stakeholders in Somalia to complete lower house elections this year

The UN envoy for Somalia, James Swan, urged stakeholders to move quickly to conclude the lower house elections before the end of the year.

“Although progress is being made, the efforts of Somalia’s political leaders will need to be redoubled in the coming weeks to bring the elections for the Federal Parliament to a successful conclusion, so that the presidential elections can then be held as soon as possible,” Swan, special representative of the secretary-general for Somalia, told the Security Council via videoconference.

Swan welcomed completion of the indirect elections for the Upper House of Somalia’s Federal Parliament, which began in July, and the start of those for the lower chamber, known as the House of the People.

“The completion of these elections is more important than ever, so that all effort can return to the key governance, security, and development priorities in Somalia.”

The envoy said the UN will continue its engagement and support towards advancing the indirect polls, with clan representatives electing parliamentarians who will then vote for the president.

While 14 women will be among the 54 senators in the Upper House, representing 26 percent of parliamentarians there, Swan said this figure falls short of the 30 percent quota for women’s participation.

Only two of the 275 seats in the lower house have been filled so far, and 30 percent are also reserved for women.

“We continue to stress that women’s full inclusion and representation in political life, and in all sectors of life, is key for Somalia’s sustainable peace and development,” said Swan.

Meanwhile, the terrorist group Al-Shabaab remains a serious threat to security in Somalia.

Nearly 1,000 civilians have been killed or injured in armed conflict so far this year, with the group responsible for some two-thirds of civilian casualties.

Swan paid tribute to the Somali security forces and troops serving with the African Union mission in the country, AMISOM, who face Al-Shabaab on a daily basis.

Source: Nam News Network