İrem UZUN -TDO- Somalia's election, due to be held on February 8, will be delayed after the collapse of talks between leading politicians, the president says. Attempts to hold an election had been stymied, Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo told parliament in an emergency meeting.

Without a resolution, the breakdown in talks could create a constitutional crisis, in country that is already confronting a violent Islamist insurgency and widespread food shortages. President Mohamed flew back to the capital Mogadishu without a deal on the staffing of regional electoral commissions, Osman Dube, the information minister, said late on Friday. "No agreement was reached," said Dube. "The government offered to negotiate and settle all the disputed issues, but some brothers have failed to understand, and refused to resolve the issues."

Somalia, which has had only limited central government since 1991, is trying to rebuild with the help of the United Nations.  It had initially aimed to hold its first direct election in more than three decades this year but delays in preparations, and the government’s inability to rein in daily attacks by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents, meant switching to an indirect vote, with elders picking lawmakers who would choose a president. 

Due to a lack of resources and security concerns, Somalia does not use a direct voting system.  Instead, 51 electoral colleges selected by clan leaders elect lawmakers who in turn elect the president. Farmajo will remain president until a new election date is agreed upon. He promised there would be no power vacuum in the country.

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