Bloomberg News

Somalia’s Rival Political Leaders Agree to Defer Elections

June 09, 2011

(Updates with agreement provisions starting in second paragraph.)

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Somalia’s president and parliamentary speaker agreed to defer elections for 12 months to allow more time to prepare for a political transition, the United Nations said in an e-mailed statement.

Elections for president, speaker of parliament and his deputies will take place before Aug. 20 next year, according to an agreement reached today in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. The signing by President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan was witnessed by Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni and the UN special envoy for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga.

The agreement, which calls for the appointment of new prime minister within 30 days and a Cabinet, followed months of disputes between Somalia’s executive and legislative branches over when their terms should end and the date for elections. The government in March extended its term by one year, while lawmakers decided to give themselves three more years in office.

The UN Security Council threatened cuts in donor aid unless the squabbling stopped. Somalia has been mired in a civil war for two decades and hasn’t had a functioning central government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Most of the southern and central parts of the Horn of African nation have been seized by the Islamic insurgency movement, al-Shabaab.

The government, backed by African Union troops, has claimed recent victories against the rebels in Mogadishu, the capital, and along the border with Kenya.

--Editors: Karl Maier, Phil Sanders

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net; Fred Ojambo in Kampala at fojambo@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.


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