Somalia 2016 Elections: Contesting the Boundaries of Democracy

At the end of 2013, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) committed to “Vision 2016”, an audacious plan to execute all the points of reference in the Provisional Constitution of Somalia and the New Deal's Somali Compact. These two crucial documents directed the FGS to undertake various legal and institutional functions within a specific time frame. These guidelines facilitated the formulation of Vision 2016, which authorized the government to groom the nation for direct elections in 2016. Vision 2016 capitalizes on election as an inexorable means of initiating a fresh, post-conflict civic order in Somalia where citizens are mandated to select their representatives and hence bestow legality in the new political order. However, the light of this vision was dimmed in July 2015 when the Federal government leaders informed the nation that it will not be possible to hold direct “one-person one-vote” elections in 2016. Consequently, the government, in consultation with other local and regional constitutions, has designed an action plan and legal framework for 2016 election. Within this context, this Policy Brief is based on the results of a study addressing; (a) People's perception towards “Vision 2016”, (b) The alternatives menu of options available to the original direct election “one-man one -vote” plan, and (c) The possibility of holding elections in 2016. Results show that people are divided regarding the best election recourse the nation should adopt in 2016 and the perquisite foundations, cultures and approach for mitigating political infighting / warfare. There is remarkable uncertainty among the Somalis on what will be the best option to help push the country forward beyond 2016.