US rules out parallel elections in Somalia amid deepening gridlock

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia will have to hold elections across the country, the US has said, ruling out plans by the Federal Government to hold elections in sections of the country, an idea which the opposition has repeatedly opposed in recent months.

On Sunday, the US team in Somalia held a closed-door meeting with former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, Hussein Guled, and Abdinasir Mohamed, all of who are now in opposition, where timely elections in the country featured.

The three have been pushing for dialogue between the Federal Government and the opposition.

In a tweet, the US called for the involved parties to strike a compromise for the sake of timely elections in the country. Somalia is yet to start parliamentary elections despite an agreement that was released in September last year, which tentatively scheduled polls for December last year.

And Washington nowadays country cannot afford to hold partial elections or parallel processes after the government insisted that elections will kick off in some regions. The US also warned against any former violence during the exercise.

"Discussed with Abdikarim Hussein Guled, Hassan Ali Khaire, Abdinasir Mohamed, and Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden the urgent need to find a compromise to enable timely, credible elections. No partial elections. No parallel processes. No violence" read the tweet.

The government had expressed interest in holding elections in Southwest, Hirshabelle, and Galmadug states where it's in firm control and ignore Puntland and Jubaland. However, opposition leaders warned against the process, arguing that it would divide the country further.

The UN had also expressed hope that Somalia is on the right track to recovery from years of violence and terrorism, adding that the main priority now is to push for peace and stability despite the prevailing circumstances, including but not limited to sharp divisions over the next polls.

"Putting the good of the country first is what is needed at this time to ensure Somalia remains on a clear path to peace and stability," the UN had said in a statement which was signed by James Swan.

Swan, who is the UN envoy to Somalia, while speaking at a joint press conference in Dhusamareb with Galmudug leader Qoor-Qoor on Sunday, called on the country's political stakeholders to make every effort to engage in meaningful dialogue to find a solution to the pre-electoral crisis.

GAROWE ONLINE

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