The government of Somalia declared on Sunday that it will begin choosing its president and other officials by direct ballot next year, ending a system of indirect voting in the Horn of Africa country that has survived three decades of violence and clan fights.
In recent years, MPs voted for the president amid widespread insecurity caused by an Islamist insurgency and weak state infrastructure, while clan leaders and elders chose lawmakers in both the federal government and regional administrations.
The country was supposed to return to universal suffrage in 2020, but lengthy squabbles among legislators and widespread insecurity compelled the administration to keep the indirect ballot.
“Starting next year, there will be a one-person, one-vote election held every five years,” Somalia’s state broadcaster SONNA tweeted.
The position of prime minister will also be abolished.
“The Premiership will be abolished and replaced by a presidential system in which the president and vice president are directly elected by the people on a single ticket.”
The decision was made during a four-day summit in Mogadishu, which was presided over by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. SONNA did not reveal who else attended the meeting.
According to the announcement, just two political parties will be permitted to contest in the polls.
According to the statement, the first nationwide local council elections under the new system would be held in June next year, with voting for regional legislators taking place in November 2024.
Mohamud, who has a five-year term, was chosen by MPs in May of last year.