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The 2016 Somali elections is the first since 1967. This limited suffrage will largely rely on the clan elders’ and regional state governments nomination of representatives and will not involve direct popular voting given the security conditions in the country.
The election is however expected to set a fresh precedent in Somali politics since women will for the first get a significant representation in parliament. The new political dispensation provides a bi-cameral legislature composed of the Upper House (Senate) and the Lower House (Parliament).
The Somali President has promised that the elections will be free and fair. Although there are no direct polls, some pundits argue that the elections can be marred by irregularities, through manipulation by government officials. There is no well-defined evidence on how this will happen. It is however up to each state to adopt its own formula for distributing its seats among its communities or regions in a balanced and inclusive manner, ensuring adequate representation of minorities. Voting will take place simultaneously across all states.
A two-level election managing bodies are responsible for coordination of electoral processes. The Federal Elections Implementation Team (FEIT) and State-Level Electoral Implementation Teams (SEITs) in each of the existing and emerging Federal Member States will implement the process.
The Senate will be established before the elections of the Lower House. State executives will nominate at least two candidates for each seat. There is 30% threshold for women candidates in each state. The state assembly will vote for each seat individually. Once this process is complete, and final results forwarded to the federal elections authority, the Lower House elections will take place where a team of 135 Traditional elders will select the Electoral Colleges in consultations with relevant elders. The Lower House will have 275 members elected by an Electoral College of 51 members, giving a total electorate of 14,025. Voting will take place in Mogadishu or regional capitals depending on the security conditions.
The semi-autonomous self declared Republic of Somaliland would have its representation too. In the absence of Somaliland participation, the representatives of Somaliland in the Lower and Upper houses shall be elected at a location agreed upon by Traditional Elders from Somaliland, which may probably become Mogadishu.
The final electoral activities include election of senators and MPs, followed by election of the President of the Republic.