In Somalia, Stability Is a Distant Promise

MIN READFeb 1, 2016 | 09:30 GMT

In Somalia, the Illusory Promise of Reform
A Somali soldier gazes across Lido beach in Mogadishu on Jan. 22, the day after a terrorist attack in the area killed at least 20 people.


Somalia has long been administered by transitional governments, delegated through a well-established clan structure. A long-term plan is underway to transform the Somali political model into a functional Western-style democracy, but actual progress has been meager. The terms of the current parliament and government will expire later this year. While the Cabinet agreed on Jan. 28 to a U.N.-backed plan for "free, fair elections," there is little realistic chance of this happening. What will occur instead is the selection of parliamentarians by regional representatives. These representatives from the sub states will pick legislators from among the four most powerful clans in Somalia, and, to a lesser extent, from a loose grouping of smaller clans. Talk of state-building and democracy aside, the primary issue to be addressed is Somalia's security situation, which remains the single largest obstacle to political stability of any kind for Mogadishu....

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