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Somali Politicians Begin Talks on Elections, New Constitution

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Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Somali government representatives, lawmakers and a pro-government militia began talks on drafting a new constitution and holding elections in the war-torn country.

The discussions, which started yesterday in the capital, Mogadishu, are the first of a series of meetings aimed at endorsing a roadmap outlining tasks Somalia’s transitional administration needs to achieve over the next 12 months, the United Nations Political Office for Somalia said in an e-mailed statement.

“Stable government can be achieved through security, good governance, reconciliation and finalization of the draft constitution,” Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said at the start of the conference yesterday.

A Transitional Federal Government was established in Somalia in 2004, the 14th attempt to create a functioning central administration since the fall of Mohamed Siad Barre’s dictatorship in 1991. The mandate of the so-called TFG, which had been scheduled to end last month, was extended for 12 months in June.

The meeting, which ends tomorrow, includes representatives of the TFG, lawmakers, officials from the semi-autonomous northern state of Puntland, and the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a militia. Talks will also focus on the current drought that has caused a famine in some southern regions of the Horn of Africa country, according to the UN.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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