The European Union (EU) on Friday called on newly elected Somali lawmakers to tackle political and security as well as governance challenges to help rebuild the Horn of Africa nation.
Welcoming the election of parliamentarians for both Upper and Lower Houses, the EU urged them to focus on consensus-building and reconciliation; providing governance, services and security to the people.
The European bloc also urged the incoming political leadership to build a credible and capable security sector and consolidate the constitutional basis that should underpin Somalia’s state-building project.
“The EU delegation and member states express the hope that, with the incoming political leadership of the country, the newly elected parliamentarians will now focus on the challenges at hand,” the statement said.
The EU said the just concluded election of speakers is an important step in Somalia’s political transition that will allow the Horn of Africa nation to soon conclude the indirect parliamentary electoral process that started in 2016.
“The newly elected parliamentarians will now, through their actions, have to earn the trust and confidence of the Somali people,” it said and lauded the progress made during this electoral process.
The EU said the process has largely been peaceful in spite of the volatile security context, involved a far greater number of electors, and has taken place across Somalia.
Though falling short of meeting the 30 percent political commitment, the EU said, real progress has been made with regard to women’s representation.
“This now needs to translate into greater opportunity and voice for women and youth in Somali politics and society,” said the EU.
“The EU however said the electoral process was marred by intimidation, corruption and manipulation by stakeholders, and with most of the mandated electoral and dispute resolution bodies not being able to fulfill their role as expected.
“Lessons must be learned from this process to ensure the Somali people are allowed to fully embrace their democratic rights in the future. Not only should all Somalis have a chance to exercise these rights, but there should be no place for intimidation and manipulation, for corruption, impunity and violence,” it said.
According to the EU, Somalia needs strong, independent institutions for the democratic gains to become a reality and called upon the newly elected parliamentarians to undertake this important task with integrity and foresight.