Somali president cancels extension of his term in office following backlash

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said he won’t extend his term in office by two years, following domestic, international pressure and clashes in the capital, Mogadishu.

Mohamed’s term expired in February, but the country failed to hold elections as planned. Earlier this month, the lower house of parliament voted to extend his four-year term by another two years. The Senate rejected the move, provoking a political crisis.

Farmaajo also had decided to appear before parliament on Saturday “to gain their endorsement for the electoral process that was agreed upon” as he called on all parties to “refrain from any and all actions that could jeopardise stability” in the country.

The president also urged a return to negotiations over the delayed election and called on all signatories to the September agreement to “come together immediately for urgent discussions on the unconditional implementation” of that agreement.

Prime Minister Roble has backed that joint statement and called on security forces to return to their barracks.

Earlier, commanders from the police and military defected to the opposition, and rival factions of the security forces fortified positions in central Mogadishu, raising fears of heavy fighting in the heart of the capital, and a security vacuum in the surrounding areas that could be exploited by al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab fighters.