GAROWE, Somalia (Reuters) – The president of Jubbaland, a Somali region critical to East Africa’s fight against al Shabaab militants, won a fresh term on Thursday, the parliamentary speaker said, amid a growing rift between the federal government and its semi-autonomous states.
Ahmed Mohamed Madobe, a top security partner for neighboring Kenya, which helps Somalia fight the militant group, won 56 of the 74 votes cast by lawmakers in the regional parliament, speaker Cabdi Maxamed Abdirahmaan said.
Contest - Tensions - Kenya - Ethiopia - Allies
The bitter local contest has stoked tensions between Kenya and Ethiopia, longtime allies who both have large contingents of peacekeepers in the country and see Jubbaland as a buffer zone against Islamist attacks in their own countries. Kenya supports Madobe, while Ethiopia has grown increasingly close to the federal government in Mogadishu.
“I am ready to sit and speak with all people, including the opposition. I will speak and work with anyone who has a complaint,” Madobe told parliament after the vote.
Reaction - Government - Mogadishu - Result - Mogadishu
There was no immediate reaction from the central government in Mogadishu to the result. Mogadishu said on Saturday it would not recognize the result, saying the candidate selection process had violated the national constitution.
It has accused Madobe of interfering in the process and has backed opposition candidates, who were rejected by the electoral commission when they attempted to register.
Somalia - Stakeholders - Confidence - Process - Risk
Not all of Somalia’s stakeholders have confidence in the process and there is a risk that the vote’s outcome will not be widely accepted, the United Nations mission in Somalia said last week.
The barred opposition candidates said they held their own vote in Kismayo on Thursday, electing Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig.
Impact - Vote
The impact of this parallel vote was not immediately...
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