By John Ikani
Somalia will hold presidential elections on May 15, state TV announced Thursday, broadcasting a statement by a parliamentary committee tasked with organizing the long-delayed polls in the fragile Horn of Africa nation.
The election, originally scheduled to take place in February 2021, has been delayed because of a lack of funding, insecurity stemming from an Islamist insurgency, and disagreement among the nation’s leaders – President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.
Last month, lawmakers were sworn in for a 275-member lower house of parliament and a 54-seat upper house. The two chambers will jointly vote for the new president, who will lead the country for the next four years.
At least 15 contenders, including incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, two former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, and former Prime Minister Hassan Khaire have announced they will contest.
Somalia has never re-elected a sitting President, and all of the last five indirect polls have sprung forth a newcomer. Other contenders in the race include leader of oil-rich Puntland region, Said Abdullahi Deni and former Foreign Minister Abdirizak Mohamed.
The timing of the vote ensures Somalia does not miss out on a $400m (£320m) financial package from the IMF.
It is set to expire unless a new administration is in place by 17 May