Mogadishu, SOMALIA — In a surprising move, the Somali parliamentary speaker withdraws his support for the candidacy of Ms. Marwa Abdi Bashir Hagi in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) presidential election, who initially received strong endorsement within Somalia and the parliament. Ms. Hagi, a member of the Somali parliament, aimed to represent not only her country but also broader regional aspirations and the institution of parliamentary democracy. While government media covered her IPU candidate status, the executive has been adamant in preventing her win, according to people close to the MP.
Early on, Ms. Hagi’s candidacy seemed promising. Both Somali parliamentarians and the public were supportive. Hence, the official communication from the Speaker’s office comes as a shock. A formal letter emerged on October 24, 2023. Dispatched from the Speaker’s Office, it was addressed to Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary-General of the IPU. This letter conveyed Somalia’s withdrawal of support for Ms. Hagi.
IPU and General Public Respond
The government’s move drew significant attention. Most see it as eroding the autonomy of individual international election candidates. In response, the IPU rejected the Speaker’s letter. They stated that only Ms. Hagi could withdraw her candidacy.
Shifting Political Allegiances Explored
Sources tell The Somali Digest that the Federal Government of Somalia supports a Tanzanian as an IPU candidate. Analysts speculate that this could secure Tanzanian backing for Somalia in the East African Community (EAC).
Public Sentiment Leans Toward Betrayal
Betrayal is the dominant feeling among Somalis. Many see the government’s actions as prioritizing geopolitics over national interests. Consequently, this overshadows the initial optimism surrounding Ms. Hagi’s candidacy.
The government’s withdrawal raises ethical questions. Specifically, it puts a spotlight on Somalia’s commitment to democratic principles. Additionally, it opens up a discourse on the ethics of sidelining a national representative for geopolitical gains.
Implications Extend Beyond Single IPU Candidate
Ms. Hagi’s candidacy was symbolically significant. It reflected national pride, regional aspirations, and global principles. As a result, these events cast uncertainty over Somalia’s political future and its standing in international relations.