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A cloud of uncertainty hangs over 2016 elections as NLF convenes In Mogadishu

Storyline:National News

The National Leadership Forum (NLF) consultative conference opened in the Somali capital on Wednesday as the country’s top political stakeholders try to salvage the electoral process whose execution is way behind the set timelines.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has officially opened the NLF talks at Villa Somalia today, in the wake of extensive face-to-face discussions between key electoral stakeholders in the course of the night.

During their consultative talks, the political leaders are expected to tackle key issues surrounding the country’s much anticipated electoral process, with a growing possibility of extending the electoral deadline by two months. This is coming up against growing international pressure for timely elections.

Jubaland President, Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madoobe) pointed out that the conference marks the last of several rounds of high profile discussions among the country’s top political leaders, adding that the meeting’s main agenda was to round up some outstanding issues that were dragging the electoral process. He however did not elaborate the issues in contention.

According to the 2016 electoral timetable, the parliamentary elections were due to kick off on 20th August, followed by the presidential race in September 2016. However, given the strict timelines, the possibility to meet both deadlines is fading due to some outstanding issues that make the process untenable, including persistent arguments over the power sharing formula.

Ahmed Madoobe urged NLF members to demonstrate leadership acumen by finding a lasting solution to the current political stalemate, since Somalia’s future rests on their shoulders. The Federal Electoral Implementation Commission is expected to present its plans to the forum