The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and the Head of Somalia’s UNSOM, Michael Keating, asked for an explanation on criteria Somalia’s bureau which reached decisions on election disputes used to only single out 11 seats of a short-listed 24 seats initially slated for recontest.

Mr. Keating said in a letter he had written to the Independent Electoral Disputes Resolution Mechanism (IEDRM) that his office and other members of the ‘international community’ “requested explanation as to how the shortlist of 24 seats under consideration by the IEDRM had been reduced to eleven, i.e, how the criteria to determine the level of abuse had been applied to each seat”.

Mr. Keating further reminded the IEDRM that seats viewed as “most egregious” were not included in the list in the list of seats to be re-contested, “then the credibility of the electoral process overall and of the IEDRM, specifically, is undermined”, going on to say that this would have “seriously negative consequences on partners”.

Mr. Keating’s letter followed a meeting that he and ‘members of the international community, including the ambassadors of the European Union, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, as well as a representative of the SRCC and DSRSG” had with the Chair and members of IEDRM in Mogadishu.

Obviously, the explanations sought and the issues discussed relating to the primary functions of the IEDRM and how these first disputed cases were decided did not pan out to the satisfaction of the ‘international community’, hence, the follow-up letter.

The Electoral Commission of one of Somalia’s federal states, Puntland, had already challenged the IEDRM on what grounds it annuled the 11 seats in the list it published, following pretty much the same lines as those Mr. Keating’s letter underlined. Two MPs who the Puntland Commission certified were among the 11 annulled by the IEDRM. 

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