Somali leaders strike unity deal as election draws By ABDULKADIR KHALIF in Mogadishu | Friday, August 10 2012 at 15:02
Thirteen presidential hopefuls have announced that they have formed a coalition as the battle for battle-weary Somalia's top seat hots up.
The candidates, all men, hope to agree on a single candidate to contest the country's anticipated election expected to take place on or before August 20.
According to a popular roadmap signed in September 2011, the term of the current Transitional Federal Government does not extend beyond that date.
A new President would then be elected by a legislative house being put together by the country's powerful traditional clan elders.
Up to 63 aspirants have declared their candidacy for the presidency, including the incumbent, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and his premier, Prof Mohammed Abdiweli Ali.
The new coalition includes US-based academics key among them Professors Ahmed Ismael Samatar and Ahmed Mumin Warfa, local university dons such as Prof Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and former cabinet ministers Abdurahman Abdishakur Warsame and Mohamed Mohamoud Guled alias Gamadhere.
"We acknowledge that the Somalia people are in a dreadful situation, especially overwhelmed by among others ailments by humanitarian problems, social disintegration, health troubles and mass unemployment," the grouping said in a Thursday statement.
The alliance, named Bahwadaagta Qaran ee Isbeddeldoonka (National Association for Change), vowed to alter the course of life in Somalia if they ascended to Villa Somalia, the state house in the capital Mogadishu.
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