Securing Somalia

The Challenges Awaiting Its New President

Somalia's newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, flanked by outgoing president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, carries their national flag during the hand-over ceremony at the presidential palace in Mogadishu, February 2017. Feisal Omar / REUTERS

After several months of delay, a new president of Somalia was elected on February 8, 2017. The fact that an election took place at all should be counted a success.

Despite the so-called Somali New Deal Compact of September 2013, in which the country’s government pledged to international donors and its people that it would hold an inclusive election by the end of 2016, the process was highly imperfect in both design and execution. Once again, insecurity stemming from the jihadist al Shabab insurgency, clan rivalries, tensions among newly formed subfederal states, and violent criminality prevented a broadly participatory national election. Instead, the vote was left to 14,000 elders and influential political figures who, over the course of several months, elected 275 members of the Parliament and 54 senators. These officials went on to pick the new president. Extensive corruption and vote buying tainted the process. To secure support from the elders and influentials, potential parliamentarians

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