Convening of elders important step on path to ending Somalia’s transition – UN envoy

Special Representative Augustine Mahiga. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

4 May 2012 – The top United Nations envoy in Somalia has welcomed the inaugural convening of the body tasked with selecting members of the Constituent Assembly and new Parliament as an important step on the road to ending the country’s transition.

“This is a moment of optimism for all Somalis,” said Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS).

The Traditional Elders represent the full spectrum of Somali society, according to a statement issued by UNPOS. They will nominate and select those who will serve in the 1,000-member Constituent Assembly, which is tasked with drafting a new constitution, as well as in the new Parliament.

The country’s Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) are in the process of implementing a roadmap devised in September last year that spells out priority measures to be carried out before the current transitional governing arrangements end on 20 August. The selection of the members of the Assembly and the Parliament will help pave the way for the end of the transition.

Mr. Mahiga emphasized that the credibility of those chosen by the Elders, who will meet tomorrow in the capital, Mogadishu, will have a “profound effect” on the constitution-making process and the selection of the new legislative body.

“I call on all parties to ensure that this is done in a timely, consultative and efficient manner. This is an essential first step on a long path ahead, and it is critical that we get it right.”

He also encouraged the Elders to “give us the best representatives to both the Constituent Assembly and the Parliament.”

The UN and the international community will give their full support to this process for the successful ending of the transition and eventual lasting peace and stability to Somalia, he added.


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