18 Candidates, Including Two Women, to Run In Somalia’s First Presidential Election Since 1984

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Eighteen Somalians have been confirmed to run in the country’s historic presidential election, its first since 1984. Somalia held indirect presidential elections in 2012 to establish its first federal government after more than 20 years of political vacuum.

This year’s election, scheduled for November 30, will have elected members of both Houses of Parliament choose the president, whereas in 2012, a Parliament consisting of a single House voted.

As universal elections are not yet possible in Somalia, 14,025 clan representatives who form part of an Electoral College elect the 275 members of the Lower House of Parliament, while regional Parliaments elect the 54 members of the Upper House.

Members of the two Houses vote for the president in accordance with the Provisional Federal Constitution.

Among the presidential candidates are the incumbent, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and Fadumo Dayib, one of the first two women to run for president in the East African nation that has faced threats from Islamist group al-Shabaab.

Profiles of the candidates

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
Incumbent president and leader of the Peace and Development Party, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is standing for re-election to continue his mandate despite accusations of low performance.

The 61-year-old educationist has improved the diplomatic relationship between Somalia and other donor countries, thereby gaining support to build the country. However, he faced corruption accusations leading to 2013 impeachment proceedings, which he survived.

Mohamud has overseen the establishment of new federal regions, including Jubbaland and Galmudug.

Fadumo Dayib
One of two first Somali women to run for president, Fadumo Dayib was born in Kenya to Somali parents who were later deported to Somalia in 1989. They fled the civil war to Finland where they assumed refugee status.

Fadumo Dayib returned to Somalia in 2005, where she worked for the United Nations and felt the responsibility to help develop her country by doing away with corruption and by empowering women.

She announced her candidacy in June 2015 and was immediately the target of a death threat from al-Shabaab, a group she vowed to negotiate a peace deal with.

Fadumo, who didn’t learn to read and write until she was 14, now holds three master’s degrees and recently earned her doctorate.

Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke
Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is the Prime Minister of Somalia and was its ambassador to the United States in 2014.

The 55-year-old Shamarke, who also is a former United Nations diplomat educated in Canada, is the son of former Somali prime minister and president Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, who was assassinated in 1969.

Sharmarke is known for his campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM), which is rife in Somalia.

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