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Top Somali leaders vie for presidential contest
Thursday, August 16, 2012

The three top leaders of the Somali government namely the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the outgoing parliament have all announced their candidature for the upcoming presidential election due in less than a week.

Campaigning for the top job has already begun in Mogadishu and jockeying for support from prospective lawmakers who will vote in the new president is underway.

The country's next parliament will elect the new Somali parliament and process of selecting the 275 members of the new legislator tasked on key clan elders is currently underway.

Numerous political meetings are held in Mogadishu by various politicians with other politicians and clan elders to solicit votes from potential members of parliament.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist who has been in power since 2009 wants reelection and is seen as one of the frontrunners to lead the war torn country in during the next four years.

During a recent campaign gathering of his supporters the incumbent President said he would strengthen the rule of law and improve social services.

"I want the next government to be a government of rule and law, a government that restores the rule of law in the country. You know we can reach that by rebuilding our institutions and empowering them to do their respective jobs," President Ahmed said at launching of his candidature.

Other candidates have also held their own campaign gatherings for their supporters to announce their candidature and president their platform if elected for the presidency which is expected to be highly contested by a number of candidates.

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, a senior academic and a technocrat who has been in his current post for past year, says he will work to consolidate what has been achieved by his government so far.

"Since the country has been in turmoil for nearly two decades and my government has taken steps to deal with the changes, I believe we can continue to make more progress and ensure the country moves forward and that is what we are going to do in our next government," Mohamed Ali said he announced his candidature at a political gathering of his supporters in Mogadishu.

With the slogan "Vote for Change", Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam, the current speaker of the outgoing parliament has also thrown his hat into Somalia's presidential race.

Sheikh Adam, a businessman-turned-politician who has been speaker of the parliament for the past two years, says if elected, security will be top priority for his administration.

"I believe in order for us to have permanent peace and stability in our country, we have to make security our priority and that is how we can establish real peace and progress," said Sharif Sheikh Adam during recent political meeting with supporters.

The three Somali leaders will face more than a dozen other presidential hopefuls who have also announced their candidature.

There is heightened political activity in the capital Mogadishu as candidates hold meetings and rallies with their supporters in the hope of winning votes with their largely similar platforms of reform and rebirth for the war-ravaged country.


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