CW 5/2021 – To the ballot box
Press Review 30 January 2021 to 5 February 2021

Election of a new Libyan transitional government in Geneva

In Geneva this week, preparations were made for the election of a transitional government in Libya, which is to take over the task of leading the country until the next elections which are planned for December. Since the beginning of the week, a Libyan panel has been conducting a political dialogue on this issue, facilitated by the United Nations in the process. Interviews with the candidates were broadcasted live and made so respondents could interact. Libya’s new “unified executive” is to be composed of a three-member presidential team and a prime minister representing all political and social groups in Libyan society. A total of 45 candidates are running for the various positions, including well-known representatives such as the Minister of Home Affairs ofthe Accord Government, Fathi Bashaga, as well as Aguila Saleh, head of the parliament in the east, defence minister Salah Namrouh and deputy prime minister Ahmed Metig. None of the candidates has yet been able to win the first round of elections in Geneva. It remains uncertain whether the various parties to the conflict will recognise the new transitional government. Many citizens fear the possible start of new fighting and the end of the ceasefire. The ceasefire was negotiated in October last year between the UN-recognised government under Prime Minister Fajis al-Faraj and the opposition forces under General Haftar. In addition to parliamentary elections, the new transitional government is also required to conduct presidential elections in the country, for which, however, a constitutional amendment is first necessary. Whether this can be achieved by December is questionable. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya, Stephanie Williams, sees the election process for the transitional government in Geneva as an opportunity for national reconciliation and renewal in Libya.


Negotiations for an election date in Somalia

On Wednesday, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmajo, convened a three-day emergency meeting with representatives of the country’s various states to prevent a constitutional crisis. As the term of office of the Somali Head of State ceases next Monday, 8 February, the government would have to hold the next election by then in accordance with the constitution. So far, however, the central government in Mogadishu and the individual states have been unable to agree on a date because of disagreements over electoral formalities. Furthermore, the federal parliament’s term had already ended in December last year. The original goal of having the Somali populace individually vote in this year’s election was already scrapped in September last year. Instead, as in previous elections, only representatives of Somali clans will be able to vote. Another reform, which provides for a 30% quota for women in parliament, was also planned. However, besides the actual election date, the implementation of the parliamentary women’s quota is still uncertain. It is widely considered unlikely that the elections can be held on time. In addition to the looming political crisis and the global Covid-19 pandemic, Somalia is still suffering from a plague of locusts. Moreover, the terrorist group al-Shabab controls large parts of the country. Most recently, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in Mogadishu that killed at least nine people. Since the withdrawal of US troops last year, the security situation has deteriorated further. Recently, the severance of diplomatic relations with neighbouring Kenya
added to the country’s foreign policy challenges.

In other news

The Botswanan app Doctors E-Consult is an online consultation space where patients can virtually consult doctors regardless of their location. This is possible through a mobile or electronic device. In addition to consulting general practitioners, patients can also contact cardiologists and psychologists. Doctors E-Consult is also a platform where one can book appointments or order medications. Likewise, electronic prescriptions can be issued via this application. Doctors E-Consult was founded last year by a group of young Botswanan entrepreneurs to ensure access to medical services, which became even more difficult with the onset of the Corona pandemic.


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