Roble's magic? PM gathers stakeholders as election talks take shape in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - With almost all opposing teams backing his efforts to reconcile the country, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble seems to have gotten the much-needed stepping stone in the electoral talks, having managed to bring almost everybody to the negotiation table.
The country is anticipating a major pre-election deal this week after all states and the Banadir leadership convened in Mogadishu in what could help the country find a lasting solution on implementation of the September 17 pre-election deal that had stalled.
Unlike in the past, Roble invited dozens of presidential candidates for the last round of talks and the entire team was pictured in "good moods" as they discussed the best way to end the impasse, which had literally grounded operations in Somalia.
Among those pictured in Monday's meeting were former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud along with Wadajir party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, who is the official opposition leader in Somalia.
The Five States and Banadir region will select members of both houses of the Somali Federal Parliament as presidential elections kick-off. MPs will participate in picking the president, and the outgoing president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo likely in the contest.
The FGS and FMS leaders began in-depth talks about the contentious electoral issues to find a comprehensive deal over the weekend as Somalia's PM expanded consultations with stakeholders, including opposition candidates and Senate speaker Abdi Hashi.
"The second day of the Nationaal Consultative Conference chaired by HE PM Mohamed Roble has concluded in a positive atmosphere while good progress has been made on the issues discussed today regarding elections with the base of 17 September Agreement. Meetings Will continue," Mohammed Moalimuu, spokesperson of the PM said.
In his statement, PM Roble added: "The second day [Sunday] of the National Electoral Conference comes to a close; Progressive discussions taking place in a cordial, candid and accommodative environment."
The meeting with Speaker Abdi Hashi in Mogadishu was meant to iron out a number of issues regarding elections of MPs in Somaliland, which said broke away from Somalia in 1991. Hashi is the senior-most leader from Somaliland representing the views of the region in the federal government.
Currently, Speaker Hashi is at loggerheads with Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Gulaid over the control of the process in Somaliland, with both battlings for the control of the region. But Somaliland has a parallel government and almost executes most matters as an independent state.
The latest development is an indication that Mohamed Hussein Roble may have after all taken complete control of the process, making it more effective than President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, whose presence in the talks could not bear fruits at any one given point.