Somalia’s election follows a system of elections different to the customary popular vote practiced by most Western democracies. Hampered by insecurity and with the clan system embedded in Somalia, the country opted for a system of indirect elections in the 2016 elections.
The country’s Provisional Constitution provides for a bi-cameral parliament with a 275-member House of the People and a 54-member Upper House. The 2016 electoral process had started with the identification of 135 titled traditional elders. They are systematically selected to represent the majority of clans and are actually the basis to roll on with the whole snow-ball-like electoral process.
For the Members of Parliament (MPs) elections, seats were allocated based on a 4.5 clan allocation and the individual seats were contested within the clan. The elders chose 14,025 electoral delegates from the country’s different regions. The delegates were further divided into electoral colleges of 51 members each and each electoral college (275 in total) voted for a parliamentary seat.
From the 51 delegates, 16 were supposed to be women, 10 from the youth community and the remaining 25 being members of the civil society.
Voting and counting took place in each of the capitals of the Federal Member States (with special provision for representation from Somaliland). The MPs’ results: Jubbaland, 43 MPs, Southwest 69, Galmudug 36, Puntland 37, Benadir 6, Hirshabelle 37 and Somaliland 46.
Women were elected to 26% of seats in the HOP and 24% of seats in the UH.
In Somalia, the system to elect the president is defined in article 89 of the Provisional Constitution. To become president a candidate needs to win 2/3 of the votes. If no candidate wins 2/3 of the votes, the four candidates with the highest number of votes compete in a second round of voting. If still no candidate wins 2/3 of the votes in the second round, a third round is contested between the first two candidates from round two. The candidate with the highest number of votes in the third round is then declared president.
24 candidates qualified and registered to contest for presidency.
On 8 February 2017, a total of 328 policymakers (274 newly elected members of HOP and 54 from the HP) were gathered at the Aviaszione premises at Mogadishu International Airport to elect the new president.
After the count of the first run-off, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud received 88 votes, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed received 72, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed received 48, and Omar Abdirashid received 37 votes. None of them had amassed the required 2/3 of the votes.
In the second run-off, Ahmed was eliminated, leaving the former prime minister and incumbent president to contest the third and final round as none of them had met the required threshold.
However, prior to the third run-off, Hassan Sheikh Mohamed conceded defeat and urged all Somalis to support the new president and work with him and his government.
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was immediately installed and sworn in as the new President of Somalia.