Somalia. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Somalia is 15,893,233 people in 2020. Somali representatives gathered in Kenya agreed in January to appoint a new parliament, whose 275 members would be appointed on a clan basis. The Peace Conference gathered in October 2002 with great enthusiasm, but in 2003 it appeared close to a collapse. However, this time, driven by the IGAD regional development organization, the delegates appointed a parliament to be inaugurated, on Kenyan soil, in early September. In October, Parliament elected Abdullahi Yusuf, leader of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in northeastern Somalia. Yusuf later appointed Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, a veterinarian and university teacher who has worked for the African Union (AU) in recent years.
At a conference in Stockholm in October, representatives of the EU, the AU, the UN and the Arab League discussed how to organize international support for Somalia’s reconstruction.
Parallel to political progress, some signs of an economic recovery in Somalia appeared. A new soft drink factory could be inaugurated in Mogadishu and the telecommunications industry flourished. The largest hospital in Mogadishu was reopened in July with financial support from the local business community after being closed for 14 years.
At the same time, battles continued in different parts of the country. In May, at least 60 people were killed in Mogadishu as clan factions battled for control of a couple of port facilities and a smaller airport. During the fall, troops from Puntland and Somaliland outbreaks fought for control of disputed border areas. Somaliland was concerned that the election of Abdullahi Yusuf as president would put increased pressure on the breakaway republic to re-join Somalia.
About 150 people were feared to have been killed when the giant waves from the earthquake outside Sumatra on December 26 reached Somalia. Around 50,000 had their homes destroyed.
Shift of power
The political lockout was later lifted in the fall and a new electoral commission was jointly appointed by the president, parliament and opposition parties. The presidential election was held on June 26, 2010, with the same main candidates as 2003: Kahin and Silanyo. On the whole, the election was quiet and Silanyo won by almost half the votes, against a third for Kahin. The change of power was carried out without problems.
In 2013, the Elders Council decided to extend the mandate of both parliamentary chambers to 2015, so that the parliamentary elections could be held at the same time as the presidential election.
In May 2015, the Election Commission decided that the presidential and parliamentary elections should be postponed again in June 2016, so that it could be properly prepared. Shortly thereafter, it was moved again in April 2017, after a vote in the Elderly Council. Although all parties agreed that the electoral commission needed more time, both the opposition and important donors felt that two years was too long.
The collection of donors who were members of the so-called Democratic Steering Committee (abbreviated DSC), including the US, the UK and the EU, criticized the decision.
An important reason for the elder council’s actions was concerns about President Silanyo’s health. His party Kulmiye was said to want more time to appoint a possible successor to him, so as not to risk the current second party taking over the presidential post should Silanyo die.
Later, the parties agreed to hold presidential elections on November 13, 2017, and parliamentary and local elections in April 2019.
Presidential Election 2017
Three candidates ran in the presidential election in the fall of 2017: Muse Bihi Abdi, a former military and warlord, from the ruling Kulmiyi Party, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi “Irro” from the Waddani Party and Faysal Ali Warabe from Ucid. It was the first time the Waddani Party had the right to stand with a candidate, after success in the 2012 local elections.
Prior to the election, voters were registered via a biometric system where their eyes were scanned. Two of the candidates, Irri and Warabe, were Finnish citizens, while Abdi was a former military who had been trained in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.
All three candidates promised during their campaigns to improve school education, create new jobs and work for Somaliland to become independent. However, Abdi emphasized the importance of giving women a greater role in politics and advocated the introduction of a general military duty, while Irro advocated measures to combat inflation and made promises that he would not allow the parliamentary mandate to be extended without holding elections; and Warade promised more money for the care. One sensitive issue was an agreement with DP World, a company from the United Arab Emirates, to develop the port of Berbera, something that both Warabe and Abdi supported, but which Irro opposed. He accused his counterparts of accepting bribes to approve the port agreement.
All social media was shut down while the election was going on and until the results had been presented.
The election was fought at a time when the country was exposed to severe drought, which hit hard on the important export of livestock. According to reports, almost three quarters of the livestock had succumbed.
The presidential election was held in calm forms, but unrest erupted since the Waddani Party questioned the outcome and accused the Electoral Commission and the Kulmiy Party of irregularities. The charges triggered riots in Hargeisa and Burao, and at least three people (some sources indicate at least eleven casualties) were reported to have been killed in clashes between Waddanian supporters and police.
Religious and traditional leaders then made a clear mark on the candidates that the personal attacks they directed against each other had no place in Somali politics.
On November 21, it became clear that Muse Bihi Abdi of the Kulmiy party had won the election with 55 percent of the vote, ahead of Iro with almost 41 percent. The turnout was 80 percent.
After the election, the new president adopted a conciliatory attitude and stated that he wanted to serve as president for all Somalis.