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Somalia again delayed its parliamentary elections set for next month, a move that risks further exacerbating the country’s situation amid budget issues, political infighting and an Islamist insurgency, Agence France-Presse reported over the weekend.
The lower house of parliament election was set for Feb. 25 and would have paved the way for lawmakers to pick a president. But on Friday, the government announced the polls would be postponed to March 15.
The Horn of Africa country was originally supposed to hold elections last year but they were delayed when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed attempted to extend his term in office – it expired last February.
The move sparked deadly clashes in the streets of the capital, Mogadishu, prompting Prime Minister Hussein Roble to broker a new election timetable. But in the months that followed, the process derailed amid a spat between Roble and Mohamed, according to Al Jazeera.
The recent delay triggered criticism from the United States and the International Monetary Fund.
The US announced an extension of visa restrictions on officials and individuals “responsible for, or complicit in” undermining Somalia’s electoral process.
Meanwhile, IMF officials said they were halting funding for Somalia due to the election delay.
Somalia’s electoral process follows a complex indirect model: Roughly 30,000 clan delegates are tasked with selecting 275 lawmakers for the lower house, while state legislatures choose senators for the upper chamber, a process that has already concluded.
Currently, about 175 members of the lower house have been elected.