Somalia holds long-awaited presidential elections amid tight security

Mogadishu, May 15 (EFE).- Somalia held long-delayed presidential elections on Sunday amid tightened security measures over fears of terror attacks.

The Horn of Africa nation’s 54-members senate and 275-member lower house started voting at 3pm during a joint session in a protected area of ​​the Mogadishu international airport, according to the local radio station Radio Dalsan.

Among the 39 candidates running for president in the election that has been repeatedly postponed since 2021 amid political disputes is incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, who is seeking a second four-year term in office.

Farmaajo’s main rivals are ex-prime minister Hassan Ali Khaire and former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

Somalia’s election stalemate had caused outrage among the country’s international partners, who urged it to abide by its election calendar.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned Somalia it would cut off support if the presidential elections were not held before May 17.

The elections were being held amid heavy security presence, organized by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), to prevent terror attacks.

On Wednesday, a suicide attack on a checkpoint near the Aden Adde international airport in the Somali capital Mogadishu killed at least six people.

Somalia has been in a state of upheaval since 1991 when the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre left the country without an effective government and vulnerable to Islamic militants, warlords and criminal groups.EFE


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