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In Somalia Citizens elect parliament in polls decided by electoral colleges

An election that did not give every adult the opportunity to vote held in Somalia on Saturday, November 6, 2016.

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Kenyan soldiers arrive at the scene of a bomb attack claimed by Shabaab militants in the northeastern town of Mandera on October 25, 2016 play

Kenyan soldiers arrive at the scene of a bomb attack claimed by Shabaab militants in the northeastern town of Mandera on October 25, 2016

(AFP/File)

Somalia on Saturday began electing a parliament in a poll which did not give every adult a vote.

The election was however seen as a significant step towards strengthening the conflict-ridden country’s fledgling institutions after decades of anarchy.

Due to the continuous threat from Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab and weak electoral infrastructure, Somalia decided against a “one-person-one-vote” election.

Instead of giving eligible voters from Somalia’s population of 11 million people the right to vote, electoral colleges – whose 14,025 members were chosen by traditional leaders – will pick the 275 members of the legislative assembly.

The polling process is expected to take until at least Nov. 10.

The assemblies of five federal states were meanwhile electing the 54 members of the upper house.

Once the two chambers of parliament have been elected, they will choose on Nov. 30 a president from among some 20 candidates, with Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud among the front runners.

The elections were postponed four times this year due to organizational delays.

The polls are nevertheless seen as being more democratic than those in 2012, when only 135 traditional elders elected a unicameral parliament.

The elections are the second polls since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre plunged the Horn of Africa nation into anarchy as warlords carved out clan-based fiefdoms.

Governments formed since 2004 have tried to impose their authority, but faced a growing threat from the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab. 

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