SOMALIA DECIDES: Lawmakers make way to polling centre, total shut down in Mogadishu as nation holds breath for new leader

A screen shot of the polling centre in Mogadishu. Image: Amisom/UNSOM
A screen shot of the polling centre in Mogadishu. Image: Amisom/UNSOM

Somali Parliament is today casting the vote for president in a hotly contested race drawing in 22 aspirants as the city remains on shut down mode for the second day.

The 328 lawmakers from the Upper and Lower Houses of the Federal Parliament will each cast a vote through the secret ballot option with the winning candidate requiring at least 219 votes which translates to two thirds majority.

Two senators from Somaliland who were elected Tuesday are expected to be sworn in ahead of the vote while Jubbaland will miss out on one MP since the election in the southern state was cancelled by the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team, FIEIT in a third re-run.

Security clearance

Preparations for the exercise are underway as MPs, observers and journalists make way into the Afisyoni Airforce complex inside the Aden Adde Airport. Goobjoog New correspondent says the queues are still long amid heavy security and clearance process.

Those entering the facility are not allowed to carry in smart phones on security grounds, our correspondent says. The UN and African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) are beaming the event live while local TV stations are also hoping to transmit the historic event.

The central business district of Mogadishu and its environs is deserted with a handful of residents on foot as roads are completely blocked. All shops, restaurants and any other commercial outlets are closed while the erratic gunfire to clear traffic or just indiscriminate firing by gun holders cannot be heard in the city today.

Mortal shells

Several mortar shells however broke the silence of the night last evening hitting parts of Hamarweyne and Waberi districts located near the polling centre. A bomb went off also near the central business district last night. No casualties were reported though in both incidents.

Aspirants made the last ditch attempt to secure much needed votes last evening with the incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud hosting dozens of MPs at SYL hotel in the city. Coalition arrangements are also said to be taking shape as the aspirants work out the last game of numbers. A second round vote will tilt the scales in whichever direction and reports of a joint vote by opposition MPs in the second have emerged as efforts to unseat Hassan Sheikh Mohamud build up.

The vote seems to be zeroing in on about three individuals notably Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, former PM Abdirahman Sharmarke and former president Sheikh Shariff Ahmed.

Goobjoog News online poll saw former Golis Telcom boss Ali Haji Warsame secure the highest vote at 42.7% while former PM Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo came second with 30%. Former planning minister Abdirahman Abdishakur came third with 5.9%. A total of 564 people cast the vote.

 

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