NEWS 2004


SOMALIA: Presidential candidates in final campaign push

NAIROBI, 7 October (IRIN) - Somali presidential hopefuls campaigned among their fellow members of parliament on Thursday, the final opportunity for each of the candidates to drum up support in the assembly, which will vote to choose the president on Sunday. 

Twenty-seven men and one woman are contesting the presidency in what is widely seen as the culmination of a tortuous two-year peace process in Kenya, mediated by the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). 

Delegates to the Somali reconciliation conference formed the transitional federal parliament in August. The 275-member assembly last month elected a speaker, who will on Sunday preside over the election of the president at the Kasarani Sports Stadium in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The president will in turn appoint a prime minister mandated to form a government. 

Once the federal government is fully constituted, it will move to Mogadishu, the Somalia capital, to embark on its challenging mandate of rehabilitation and the restoration of law and order in a country ravaged by factional warfare since 1991, when the regime of Muhammad Siyad Barre was toppled. 

Some of the better-known contestants include faction leaders Hussein Muhammad Aidid, Muhammad Qanyare Afrah, Musa Sudi Yalahow, Hassan Muhammad Nur, Abdullahi Yusuf, the president of the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland and Abdulkassim Salad Hassan, the president of the Transitional National Government, an administration set up in 2000. The only woman candidate is Asha Ahmed Abdallah.