Somalia set to hold overdue presidential election

Somalia is set to hold its long-delayed presidential vote this weekend, ending the convoluted electoral process that raised tensions in the country when the president’s term expired last year without a successor in place.

Authorities have registered 39 presidential candidates for Sunday’s election, a list that includes incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, two former presidents, several top officials, and one woman – Fawzia Yusuf Haji Adam, a legislator who once served as Somalia’s foreign minister.

The vote will take place amid heightened insecurity as the al-Qaeda-linked armed group al-Shabab, which opposes the federal government, continues to stage lethal attacks in the capital and elsewhere in the Horn of Africa nation.

In recent months, al-Shabab has repeatedly tested the defences of the Halane military camp, which is protected by African Union peacekeepers. A suicide bombing on Wednesday killed at least four people, including two government soldiers, at a checkpoint near the heavily fortified airport area where legislators will meet on Sunday to choose a new president.

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