Project Factsheet
Tools for » JP for Support to Universal Suffrage Elections in the Federal Republic of Somalia
Project ID:00108826Description:JP UN ELECTORAL SUPPORT
Somalia Multi Window Trust Fd
Start Date *: 25 Jan 2018
NDP1 Inclusive Politics
End Date*: 31 Jul 2022
Country: Somalia Project Status: On Going
  Participating Organization:   UNDP - UNDP(MDTF/PUNO only).

Executive Summary 

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) has confirmed in 2017, in different conferences, its commitment to conduct direct universal elections by 2020. This commitment was underscored in the Mogadishu Agreement between the FGS and the Federal Member States of Somalia (FMS) on 5 November 2017. At the end of the term of the current Federal Parliament of Somalia in 2020, the new MPs are expected to be elected for the first time since 1969 through direct universal and multi-party elections[1]. The National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), established in 2015, is responsible for conducting the elections, including political parties registration, voter registration, voter education, polling centre allocation, establishment of the electoral timeline, conduct of electoral operations and logistics, results management, and announcement of the results. According to its Strategic Plan, the NIEC has planned the next elections of the Federal Parliament at the end of 2020. The NIEC comprises nine commissioners who were appointed in July 2015. A Secretariat is being established since 2016 as its operational arm, which still requires a presence and operational capacity at the sub-national level.  While the law establishing the NIEC was adopted by Federal Parliament in early 2015, the remaining electoral legal framework has yet to be finalized. Somalia’s system of representation (the electoral system) will be a critical component of the electoral law. The Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation (MOIFAR) has the lead role in the Executive in drafting an electoral law together with other stakeholders, followed by the submission of the draft bill to the Parliament.

 The following are priorities for Somalia to move forward on its path towards universal elections:

  • Legal Framework: The electoral law is a priority, and will define the future system of representation, including the type of electoral system, the constituencies, and their respective seat allocations. The FGS has committed to complete the development of the Electoral Law in 2018, including passage of the electoral legislation by parliament.
  • Administrative Framework: A nation-wide election administration system and capacity must be established including at sub-national level.
  • Voter Registration: A method must be agreed and implemented that upholds voting rights of all eligible citizens.
  • Political Party Registration: Will permit legal establishment of political parties.
  • Electoral Security: Planning and security coordination is necessary prior to the commencement of voter registration and conduct of electoral operations.
  • Results Dispute Resolution Mechanism: A robust results adjudication mechanism has to be established within a supporting rule of law framework.
  • Voter Education: Given that the last universal elections have not been held since 1969, extensive voter education campaigns have to be planned and implemented for different key phases in the electoral process, including voter registration.
  • Demonstrated political and budgetary support: NIEC needs full support from FGS, and cooperation / coordination from Federal Member States (FMS). 

The United Nations has been providing electoral assistance to the Federal Republic of Somalia since 2014 through the UN Integrated Electoral Support Group (IESG) comprising the United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Somalia. In line with UNSOM’s renewed mandate, UNSOM’s Strategic Framework, UNDP Somalia’s Country Programme Document, and informed by the NIEC’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2021, a UN electoral Needs Assessment Mission (NAM) recommended in July 2017 that the UN continues to support Somalia’s preparations for universal elections, adhering to the following guiding principles:

  • The UN’s electoral support to Somalia will be aligned with the country’s National Development Plan and the pillar of “inclusive politics”, and informed by the NIEC Strategic Plan;
  • A focus on the preparations of universal suffrage elections in Somalia at the national level, in particular by enhancing NIEC’s capacity development to plan and conduct nation-wide elections;
  • The UN will support the Federal Government of Somalia and the international community in the consideration of a balanced approach between long-term objectives as well as short-term electoral imperatives of voter registration for universal elections;
  • Gender mainstreaming is to be enhanced in electoral processes and strengthening Human Rights principles are an inclusive aspect of the UN’s electoral support.

[1] The 10th Federal Parliament of Somalia was inaugurated on 26 December 2016, with a four-year mandate until the end of 2020. It is the mandate of the NIEC to establish the electoral calendar in line with the legal provisions. The Federal President was elected indirectly by the Parliament on 8 February 2017 with a four-year term until 2021.

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Somalia or the lead agency for the programme. The MPTF Office Portfolio Manager (or Country Director with Delegation of Authority) for this programme:

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