Somalia: Govt Prepares for One Person, One Vote Polls by 2020

African and Arab election experts are in Kenya this week meeting with Somalia’s electoral commission to help the country prepare to move to “one person, one vote” elections in 2020.

The year 2004 marked the beginning of the end to more than two decades of civil war and anarchy in Somalia. Members of Somalia’s interim parliament gathered in Nairobi to vote for a new president. They met in Kenya because Mogadishu was still too dangerous.

Somalia has since held three polls. But regular Somalis are yet to cast any ballots. The country has relied on a clan-based formula in which the lawmakers were selected by the clan elders, and then the legislators elect the president.

Last year, Somali political leaders agreed to scrap the clan-based formula in favor of a one person, one vote system. Somalia’s electoral body, the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), hopes to make the change for the next elections in 2020.

Experts from the Organization of Arab Electoral Management Bodies and from around the continent gathered in Nairobi this week to advise the Electoral Commission.