Somalia’s Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs takes further steps towards developing legal framework on elections
The development of an electoral legal framework for Somalia based on international standards and best practices was the goal of a two-day workshop organized by the UN Integrated Electoral Support Group (IESG) in Mogadishu to support the Ministry of Interior’s continued capacity development.
Thirty-two Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs (MoIFA) officials and one Commissioner from the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) participated in a workshop on developing a legal framework for elections based on the BRIDGE methodology (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections), which features accredited courses on the fundamentals of electoral administration. The BRIDGE workshop, which was the second one offered so far to the Ministry of Interior, was held in Mogadishu on 17-18 May, 2016. Also participating were members of MoIFA’s Electoral Law Working Group who are working on developing a national elections law which will lead to a universal one person one vote polls in 2020.Following the intensive two-day sessions, participants expressed their commitment to utilize the knowledge gained and apply it to develop relevant electoral legislation, as well as for the ongoing development of the draft citizenship law and the finalization of the political parties law.
Participants were taken through fundamental principles of how to structure an electoral legal framework while taking into account Somalia’s context and the need to adhere to international instruments that promote universal standards. This prompted questions such as: what makes something legal, what is the basis for internationally recognized electoral standards, and what is the impact of different legal interpretations? The workshop concluded with a strong recommendation to increase the frequency of similar capacity-building initiatives and stay the course for effective institutional development of MoIFA. This MoIFA workshop followed a February 2016 training that focused on developing the leadership and governance skills of the NIEC commissioners and other state officials and is part of the support provided by the UNDP and UNSOM Joint Programme for Support to the Electoral Process in the Federal Republic of Somalia funded by the European Union, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.