Somali Leaders Agree to Postpone Elections

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 8:30 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Somalia's feuding political leaders have agreed to postpone their nation's presidential election for one year and hold the vote by August, 2012.

The agreement was announced Thursday, after talks in Uganda's capital between Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.

The deal was brokered by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has thousands of troops in Somalia helping the government fight Islamist insurgents.

The international community has been pressuring Somali officials to chart their nation's political future before the government's term expires in August.

President Sharif and Speaker Hassan have been locked in a bitter dispute over how to proceed. Both men are expected to seek the presidency whenever the election is held.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government in 20 years, since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

The insurgent group al-Shabab has waged war against the current government since 2007. The insurgents control much of southern Somalia, although the government has retaken parts of Mogadishu in recent months with the help of AU peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi.

The so-called Kampala Accord calls for the current prime minister to resign within 30 days, and for parliament to endorse the new prime minister and cabinet within two weeks after each is named.