MOGADISHU, Feb. 3 — Somali leaders kicked off the fifth round of talks in the central town of Dhusamareb on Wednesday to resolve the current electoral impasse that has delayed elections in the Horn of Africa nation.
President Mohamed Farmajo chaired the opening session of the forum which brought together leaders of Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Puntland, Jubaland, and southwest states.
Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Roble and the Governor of the Benadir region are also in attendance.
“The leaders discussed efforts at the federal and state levels to implement the electoral process, ensure political stability and security in the country,” President Farmajo’s office said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
Farmajo highlighted the importance of the unity of the Somali people and also emphasized the rebuilding of the country amid difficult times.
Somalia is facing multiple threats to its stability from continued terrorist attacks, increased political polarization, the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst desert locust invasion in decades, and floods.
The consultative meeting is expected to arrive at a way forward for the delayed elections, considered critical for the sake of entrenching the federal system of governance, which is required to appease communities and regions claiming systematic exclusion and marginalization for decades.
Regional leaders from Jubbaland and Puntland had proposed talks with leadership from Mogadishu to help strike a middle ground on the politically negotiated electoral model that will allow the nation to hold elections.
Somalia was due to hold parliamentary elections by December 2020 while the presidential poll was to take place in February.
Parliamentary and presidential elections took place in late 2016 and early 2017 through a system of indirect suffrage.