Somalia’s Independent Electoral Commission has confirmed that the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections will not take in the East African nation this year, reported AllAfrica. The electoral body said the scheduled general election for November this year is not feasible.
Halima Ismail Ibrahim, the head of Somalia’s National Independent Electoral Commission, told lawmakers that the country could hold the election at the earliest in March 2021. She said the political differences, insecurity, flooding, and COVID-19 have hampered the commission’s work schedule.
In her address to the lower house of parliament, she proposed two options to hold the elections in the country – an election based on biometric registration which would be possible in August 2021 or a manual-based registration that can be held in March 2021.
Miss Halima told the MPs that the method of registering voters on Election Day is simpler and requires less time and resources.
“If we accept [this] method, voters will be registered and recorded manually in registers as they come to cast their votes,” she said.
The electoral commission head added that the process will be less cumbersome and will require only nine months’ preparation that is from July 2020 to March 2021 as opposed to biometric registration which is costly in terms of acquisition and training of staff. But she said if the leaders opt for voter registration before elections, then the election process will require at least 13 months’ preparation.
“This voting system needs all eligible voters registered well before the voting day via modern technology, applying biometric means,” she said.
Miss Halima said that the required equipment also has to be bought. She added that security of the election polls must be guaranteed and citizens should be educated on the electoral process.
But she pointed out that the electoral body is facing many challenges including lack of funding, insecurity, and issues related to regional states.