In preparation of Somalia universal elections, the first since 1969, the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), supported by the UN Joint Programme for Electoral Support, concluded discussions with key national and subnational stakeholders on a feasibility study evaluating all aspects related to the introduction of a new voter registration system in Somalia.
The study examined different voter registration options and methodologies that could be applied to the specific context of Somalia, where there has not been any nation-wide registration of people in decades.
Key government partners of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States (FMS), as well as different stakeholders including civil society offered their guidance to the study, which aims to inform the NIEC of the voter registration methodology to be decided and accepted by 2018.
This process aligns with the NIEC strategic plan to commence the actual voter registration in Somalia in 2019.
Various stakeholders sent preliminary feedbacks and comments related to issues of accessibility (including security), the wider electoral legal framework, and to the need of a political agreement on crucial constitutional issues. Other issues raised relate to the internally displaced persons (IDPs), nomadic population and the unknown size of the total population.
The citizenship law, which is soon to be finalized the next period, is expected to be an important piece of legislation and a step forward to define eligible voters in Somalia.
The overall strategic objective of the UNDP/UNSOM Joint Programme for “Support to the Electoral Process to the Federal Republic of Somalia” is to prepare the country for universal elections through institutional capacity development of the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), the development of the legal framework for elections, and support to promote better understanding of electoral processes.