GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Somali members of parliament are expected Monday 10 September to vote for a new president in the first elections of its kind in decades, amid concerns of fraud and bribery.
Media reports say that diplomatic sources overseeing the election process believe vote buying has been underway in recent days, with money coming from Somali business interests in Gulf Arab states, who wish to favor the incumbent President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.
The country’s recently selected lawmakers have over two dozen candidates to chose from. The formation of a new government was delayed after the mandate of the eight-year old UN-backed Transitional Federal Government ended on 20 August, due to squabbling between warlords and political factions.
Somalia has not had a central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew President Siad Barre, and has remained in a state of war ever since. Al-Qaeda-backed Al-Shabab militants were forced out of the capital, Mogadishu in August 1991.