Somali opposition leaders say they no longer recognize President Farmajo

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Somalia’s opposition leaders have announced that they no longer recognise President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, after his term expired without a political agreement on a path toward elections to replace him.

“Starting from 8th February 2021, the council of opposition candidates does not recognise Farmajo as president. The council will not accept any form of mandate extension through pressure,” the opposition leaders said in a statement issued late Sunday that referred to the president by his common nickname.

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The declaration comes after Farmajo’s government in Mogadishu and the leaders of Somalia’s five federal states failed to break a deadlock over how to proceed with elections.

Somalia was supposed to hold indirect parliamentary and presidential elections before February 8 but the deadline was missed as Farmajo and the regional leaders squabbled over how to conduct the vote.

The United Nations had warned that Somalia, a country already battling a violent extremist insurgency and serious food shortages, risked entering uncharted territory should the government’s mandate expire without a consensus on the election process.

Farmajo, who is running for a second term, blamed his regional rivals for reneging on an earlier agreement struck in September that laid out a timeline for a vote.

Jubaland, one of the semi-autonomous regions at odds with Farmajo, accused the president of refusing their offers to compromise.

The coalition of opposition presidential candidates called for the establishment of a transitional national council to steer the nation through this period, and urged Farmajo to respect the constitution.

The group is allied against Farmajo, but comprises candidates running individually for the presidency including two of Somalia’s former presidents.

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