Somalia successfully concludes first elections in over 20 years

By Mahmoud Mohamed in Mogadishu

August 29, 2012

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Somalia witnessed an historic event Tuesday (August 28th) when parliamentary elections were held inside the country for the first time in over 20 years.

  • Somali women rally in Mogadishu in support of the historic parliamentary elections. [Adnan Hussein/Sabahi]

    Somali women rally in Mogadishu in support of the historic parliamentary elections. [Adnan Hussein/Sabahi]

  • Pro-tempore speaker of parliament Muse Hassan Abdullahi introduces the newly elected speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari alongside other parliamentarians on Tuesday. [Mahmoud Mohamed/Sabahi]

    Pro-tempore speaker of parliament Muse Hassan Abdullahi introduces the newly elected speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari alongside other parliamentarians on Tuesday. [Mahmoud Mohamed/Sabahi]

  • Newly elected speaker of parliament Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari. [Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP]

    Newly elected speaker of parliament Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari. [Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP]

Newly chosen members of parliament elected Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari as the country's speaker of parliament, a step considered by many political analysts and officials as the first democratic experience in Somalia's modern history.

"I am honoured to have been selected as the first speaker of a [Somali] parliament that is not transitional and I hope we can be a parliament that serves the people it represents," Jawari said after the adjournment of Tuesday's parliament session. "The election was held in a transparent way and I hope that Somalia will continue elections that are held in a democratic way."

"I am confident that this parliament will help Somalia achieve positive changes in security and governance," he said.

Jawari told reporters that the parliamentary session will resume on Thursday when the body will discuss how and when the presidential election will be held.

Also elected were the speaker's two deputies: Jaylaani Nur Ikar, the former minister of public works and reconstruction in the transitional federal government, won the position of first deputy speaker, while Mahad Abdalle Awad became the second deputy speaker.

Political analyst and university professor Abdullahi Mohamed Aden said Somalia has taken a significant step in establishing permanent constitutional institutions after years of successive transitional governments.

"For the first time in decades, Somalia witnessed free and fair elections inside the country," he said. Previous attempts to form Somali governments were all conducted outside the country due to security concerns.

"With these elections that were conducted in a democratic and transparent fashion, the new deputies have proven to the Somali people and to the world that they possess capability, competence and integrity," he said. "We hope the upcoming presidential elections will also take place in a fair and transparent manner for the sake of realizing the aspirations of the Somali people and to confirm to the world that Somalia has entered a new era."

President Ahmed commends the elections

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed lauded the elections, describing them as an historic event that will live on in the memory of every Somali citizen.

"In this historic moment that Somalia has witnessed, I would like to congratulate the newly elected speaker of parliament as well as the members of parliament," Ahmed said at a news conference following the election of the new speaker.

"Today is an historic day for the people of Somalia as the new federal parliament has taken an important step to realize the aspirations of the Somali people and I hope that this step is the first step towards building a new Somalia that is safe, stable and prosperous," he said.

Parliamentarian Isaac Mohamed said, "The process of selecting the speaker of parliament and his two deputies were conducted with transparency since all candidates honoured the results of the ballot boxes and I expect the presidential elections to take place as soon as possible."

"Somalia has managed to accomplish significant political achievements including adopting a new constitution and selecting new parliament members who, in turn, have chosen their speaker and his two deputies," he said. "Over the next couple of days, we will complete the remaining tasks to effectively bring the transitional period in the country to an end."

About the new speaker of parliament

Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari was elected speaker of parliament after receiving a majority of votes in the first round and the withdrawal of his rivals before the second round of voting.

Jawari was born in 1945 in the city of Afgoye, which lies 30 kilometres west of the capital Mogadishu. After completing his secondary school education, he received a law degree from the Somali National University.

During the government of Mohamed Siad Barre, Jawari held the position of Minister of Transport and then later became the Minister of Labour. In 1991, after the outbreak of the civil war in the country, he left for Norway from which he recently returned to Somalia.

In September 2011, Jawari was chosen to head the committee of experts charged with drafting the new Somali constitution that was approved by the National Constituent Assembly at the start of this month.

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Reader's Comments

  • bile axmed
    September 26, 2012 @ 02:42:05AM

    I am very much pleased with the changes that have happened unexpectedly. I am requesting from the President to appoint a Prime Minister who is able and has the knowledge to lead and who can handle the of problems of insecurity in Somalia.

  • fartuun ali
    September 13, 2012 @ 08:13:52AM

    Today’s talk is about the current Somali politics.

  • Aliis yusuf
    September 13, 2012 @ 12:16:04AM

    He is good and I am happy about him. I pray to God to lead us to the straight path.

  • Mohamed C/casis Axmed
    September 12, 2012 @ 01:42:59PM

    First, I would like to congratulate President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Secondly, I would like to tell the president that Somalia has got high hopes for being rebuilt since from the time it collapsed. Somalis never got the chance they have today under the administration of all the previous presidents. Somalia can today be returned to the way it used to be but this can be achieved with dedication from you, your government and the Somali citizens wherever they are. There is need to unite the Somalis so that we can bring changes in our country. That is all.

  • ABDIRIZAK ADEN SAYUUN
    September 12, 2012 @ 09:24:23AM

    I WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE ALL THE SOMALIS WHEREVER THEY ARE. LIKEWISE, I WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE ALL THOSE WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE ELECTION THAT TOOK PLACE IN SOMALIA PARTICULARLY THE BARLIAMENTARIANS EVEN THOUGH WE FELT THAT SOME OF THEM HAVE TAKEN MONEY BUT THE ELECTION RESULT GAVE A WIN TO A MAN WHO WAS NOT EXPECTED. I WOULD LIKE TO URGE ALL THOSE WHO WILL WORK WITH THE PRESIDENT INCLUDING THE SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND THE PRIME MINISTER WHOEVER HE WILL BE, TO WORK WITH THE PRESIDENT FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE SOMALIS. I WOULD LIKE TO URGE THE UPCOMING SOMALI YOUTH WHO WERE BROUGHT UP IN OUR WAR RAVEGED COUNTRY WHETHER THEY WERE IN THE COUNTRY OR FLED FROM THE COUNTRY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CURRENT SITUATION AS THEY HAVE BOTH THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE ENERGY TODAY. NOW THAT WOMEN WERE GIVEN A ROLE TO PLAY IN POLITICS IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY CAN BE FREE FROM HANDS OF THEIR HUSBANDS, THEIR SISTERS OR SOMALIA AS THEIR COUNTRY. THEY ARE REQUIRED TO FULLY PARTICIPATE IN REBUILDING THE NATION. I WOULD LIKE TO URGE THE COMMUNITY ELDERS, THE RELIGIOUS CLERICS AND ALL THOSE WHO ARE READY FOR OUR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT TO WORK TOGETHER UNANIMOUSLY. THANK YOU. BY ABDIRIZAK SAYUUN

  • balanballe
    September 12, 2012 @ 02:35:34AM

    That is great. It is really our pleasure if the president was elected in our country today. This is a very dear opportunity to the Somalis and they are required to take advantage of this chance to bring an end to the problems that affected both the people and the country.

  • cabdicasiis asad
    September 11, 2012 @ 04:17:02PM

    I want a new website.

  • axmed mcln xasan
    September 11, 2012 @ 01:07:23PM

    I feel pleased for the presidential election to be held in Somalia. I feel extremely pleased.

  • hassan maow malaaq
    September 11, 2012 @ 01:01:55PM

    How are the minority groups different from other people? Somalis are just one.

  • hadsantihiin
    September 10, 2012 @ 03:59:22PM

    I Abdihakiin Adan Ali who is in the republic of Djibouti, I think the election that took place tonight in the city of moqadishu is instilling in the Somali youth hope and we are confident that the new parliament is the parliament that is going to change Somalia from the election of the speaker of the national assembly Jawaahiri. Its clear tonight the need for change that the people expect. I congratulate the new president hassan sheikh abdi. Congratulations. thank you

  • saalax cabdi
    September 10, 2012 @ 03:47:49PM

    The parliament of somalia has elected a new president,I wonder how the somali public hated two sharifs truly? to me its been a wonderful issue and the manner it was, welcomed the change that was realised in the country of somalia.But how can peace be attained? The question is if the armed opposition natives will be destroyed or will be agreed with.If not agreed with, what will happen? Will it last the happiness that has begun tonight or will it be a transition that links one year after another?

  • mumin cusman cali iskood
    September 10, 2012 @ 02:38:09PM

    I am very happy with the presidential elections of Somalia which was won by Mr.Hassan Sheikh Mahamud I pray to God to help you.Amiin.

  • qasim
    September 10, 2012 @ 11:29:00AM

    I think that Sheikh Shariif Sheikh Ahmed is going to emerge the winner because Hassan is some what conservative since both of them are religious people and again I think in my opinion, sheikh shariif.

  • maxamed cade
    September 10, 2012 @ 11:06:28AM

    I would myself say that this election is one which was expected because its been held in a just and transparent manner.

  • ahmed hassan
    September 10, 2012 @ 10:31:27AM

    There is hope that Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad will be re-elected but the question is will he change something from his politics, remain the same or he will come up with a new politics.

  • cabdisalancalicumar
    September 10, 2012 @ 10:23:12AM

    This analysis is about the presidential election.

  • [email protected]
    September 10, 2012 @ 10:19:59AM

    Insha ALLAH Farmaajo for president

  • AXMED ADAN MOHAMED {BARCENOLA}
    September 10, 2012 @ 09:40:32AM

    I welcome the election that is taking place in Somalia. We wish you success in the election as the people of Somaliland.

  • abdi omar charli
    September 10, 2012 @ 08:36:27AM

    The Somalis Should elect a leader who will help the country, God willing.

  • abdikani
    September 10, 2012 @ 08:07:22AM

    I believe the Somalis will not get another chance if they lose this opportunity. We must therefore respect the leaders contesting for the presidency. I have hopes that we will get a learned leader like Prof. Samatar, Farmajo or others out of the contestants.

  • ayaan maxamed cali
    September 10, 2012 @ 07:33:03AM

    I don’t think whether we will have hope of rebuilding Somalia if the Somalis re-elect Sheikh Sharif.

  • cabdicasiis asad
    September 10, 2012 @ 07:21:40AM

    I am a boy called Abdiaziz.

  • CUMAR SOMALI
    September 10, 2012 @ 03:56:25AM

    Ali-Sabih, September 10, 2012: Peace and blessings of God be on the national assembly of Somalia. I am Djiboutian of Northern Djibouti Somali community origin who lives by dreams of getting once the greater Somalia. I am very happy about the reborn of Somali Republic today. We can at the same time treat today as the day when the conception of the greater Somalia has take place due to many reasons which I think most of the Somalis do not need to be explained to. This reason include:] The transfer of transitional status to Ethiopia following the death of the man (Meles Zanawi) who used to divide and rule the Somalis. (This to us is coincidental but to God it is well-planned). ] Today’s official spread of the rule of the legitimate Somali government from Ras-kamboni through Lowya’do to Ras-Asayr. ] The DDS Somali will today get high chances to become independent if the leadership of Ethiopia fall apart as Tigres and the Amharas and the Tigres announce their secession from Ethiopia as they have predicted before which will happen God willing. This will give the Somali region of Ethiopia the opportunity to definitely secede. The Somalis of the Northern region of Kenya will also get the opportunity to fight for their independence after civil war erupts between the Kenyan government and the Swahili community of the Kenyan coast in the near future. This is if Kenya survives violence similar to the one witnessed in the 2007 election in the next election which every Somali Kenyan hopes for eruption of the worst kind of violence.

  • idle maxamed abdillahi
    September 10, 2012 @ 03:33:41AM

    Congratulations to you as the speaker, my brother.

  • ISMAACIIL CALI CABDILLAHI GUEDI
    September 10, 2012 @ 02:40:34AM

    I AM AIRING MY VOICE FROM HERE FOR THE RE-ELECTION OF SHEIKH SHARIF SHEIKH AHMAD FOR HE HAS SUCCEEDED TO RESTORE PEACE IN SOMALIA. THE SHEIKH ALONE IS CAPABLE OF LEADING SOMALIA AND WE DON’T NEED ABDIWELI OR SOMEONE ELSE.

  • carafa ismacil cabdi
    September 9, 2012 @ 01:41:19PM

    Oh God, help us go peacefully through the presidential election that will take place tomorrow so that we can bring the persistent problem.

  • maxa,ed jama cawil(maxa,edlucky)
    September 9, 2012 @ 01:06:26PM

    Peace on to all the KNN radio fraternity and to Fatuma Abdi Warsame in particular. Truly, we need someone who can save both the people and the country. For this reason we should not base our election on tribe or belief but based on someone’s ability to save us. The person who can save us according to my view is a good person from God. I have high hopes and I wish Somalia success.

  • ahmed abdi borleh
    September 9, 2012 @ 12:41:49PM

    I would like to congratulate all those who contested for the presidency of Somalia but requesting for the quick resignation of Ahmad Ismail Samatar because there is no possibility that he will become the future president of Somalia. I would like to advise him to go back to his Borama town and become the District Commissioner therefore instead of being ashamed in this contest for the presidency.

  • AYANLEH SALAH ASSOWEH
    September 8, 2012 @ 01:49:38PM

    I SUPPORTE MR FARMAJO

  • mohamed abdi mohamed
    September 8, 2012 @ 04:26:17AM

    I am very happy for Somalia to exit from the transitional governance and form its own legitimate government. I congratulate the new parliamentarians and the speaker of the national assembly; Prof. Jawari. I wish them success to elect a just and religious president on our behalf. Thank you VOA.

  • sahra cabdilahi
    September 7, 2012 @ 07:01:22AM

    That is great. I wish Somalia to stabilize so that the problems can come to an end.

  • mohamed
    September 7, 2012 @ 06:17:51AM

    This is the time for the presidency. The story is all about Prof. Samatar. My friends, let’s elect Prof. Samatar to make us reach development..... Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  • said dahir
    September 6, 2012 @ 12:36:05AM

    We must get a just government that can bring solutions to our problems and can do away with the division of the people such as tribalism and the 4.5 issue which the Somalis need to be rectified.

  • Lugendo RH
    September 4, 2012 @ 08:00:08AM

    Well done jawari, act in justice for the benefit of the citizens and for your country of Somalia. HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS.

  • abdi jamal hussein
    August 31, 2012 @ 02:03:34PM

    its a heavy and appreciatable work done by our leaders and we are expecting more frm them(inshallah)

  • Nurdin Osman
    August 31, 2012 @ 04:52:47AM

    A new parliament in Somalia will give the Somali people a chance to achieve peace and to develop in infrastructure and economy. The new parliament will work with the people to rebuild their nation and at the same time come up with laws the protect and promote the minority in Somalia

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