Voting will begin today to elect 54 representatives to Somalia’s senate.
These elections are considered key to resolving Somalia’s ongoing political crisis, which has seen rising tensions between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed—known as Farmaajo—and opposition groups. This election will likely renew some faith in the federal system among women and young people who have long claimed systematic exclusion and marginalization.
While some apprehension exists after militant group al-Shabab threatened to attack delegates and disrupt polling, Somali security forces have been working with African Union military forces to prepare for and prevent attacks. Though minor clashes between security forces and militants are likely, expect the election to be held without significant disruption.
Hopes are also high that women and young people may gain broader representation in the Senate. Following the passage of a law that reduced campaign entry fees for women, many new campaigns have appeared supporting candidates like union activist Mona Ahla and women’s rights leader Farhia Ali. While many voters hold traditional values which discourage women from holding office which may temper the success of female candidates, expect a noticeable increase in female electoral success and subsequent increase in senate representation from 24% to the 30% reserved for female representatives.
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Chris is a Content Editor and Analyst for the Daily Brief. His writing focuses on the political economies of North America, the United Kingdom and Oceania.