Somalia postpones start of parliamentary, presidential elections after months of delays.

Somalia has postponed elections that were due to start on Sunday after months of delays in the deeply unstable Horn of Africa country, officials told AFP.

Indirect parliamentary and presidential polls were due to open on July 25 with four days of voting for the upper house by state delegates. The election cycle was due to end with a presidential poll on October 10.

“Even though the plan was the upper house election to start around the various states today, there is a delay, the election may not take place as planned,” a member of the electoral commission told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The delay was due to the fact that federal regions were neither able to submit candidates’ lists in time, nor to form local committees to cast the ballots, the source added.

A spokesman for the federal government, Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu, told AFP that the elections were “postponed,” without providing details.

Last week, the country’s Al-Shabaab jihadists warned politicians against taking part in the elections, which were due to kick off after months of deadlock and delays.

The threat, in an audio message purportedly recorded by Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah, underscores the security challenges facing the election process in the country.

The Al-Qaeda-linked group has been fighting to overthrow the federal government since 2007 and frequently attacks government, security and civilian targets.

Somalia was plunged into an unprecedented constitutional crisis early this year, when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and the leaders of Somalia’s five states were unable to agree on the terms of a vote before his term lapsed in February.

After months of stalemate that at times turned violent, the political leaders finally agreed last month on a voting timetable.

According to the agreed plan, delegates from the five federal states, chosen by various clans in that state, elect parliamentarians, who then elect a president. The process was due to kick off on Sunday.

But according to several sources who spoke to AFP, the sole state that was capable of carrying out a vote “during the week” was Jubaland. According to one source, the state has already chosen its delegate committee and could publish a list of candidates “during the week.”

“We are expecting the election to take place soon,” said Mohamed Adan, a senior government official in Jubaland. Another source said the electoral process could kick off in the state later on Sunday.

In Puntland state, sources told AFP that the elections were delayed because of “technical reasons.”

In Galmudug state, the local parliament is on a break and will reconvene in early August.

In South-West state, the process is blocked because the regional president is out of the country.