Somalia’s president backs down from extending presidential term

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Somalia’s president backs down from extending presidential term

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said on Wednesday he would drop an attempt to extend his term by two years, bowing to domestic and international pressure after clashes in the capital Mogadishu split security forces along clan lines.

His prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, had hours earlier denounced the proposed term extension and called for preparations for a new presidential election.

The president’s term expired in February, but the country failed to hold elections as planned. Earlier this month, the lower house of parliament voted to extend Mohamed’s four-year term by another two years. The Senate rejected the move, provoking a political crisis.

President Farmajo said he would appear in parliament on Saturday to restore the 17 September 2020 deal on a proposed electoral framework, which would reverse the two-year extension of his term passed by legislators on 12 April.

In a televised statement in the early hours of Wednesday, the president said he commended the efforts of the prime minister and other political leaders and welcomed the statements they issued calling for elections to be held without further delay. He also called for urgent discussions with the signatories to an agreement signed last September on the conduct of the elections.

The opposition, who had called on the president to resign, did not immediately respond. The president did not discuss the opposition in his speech, but denounced unnamed “individuals and foreign entities who have no aim other than to destabilize the country.”

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