Somalia to introduce direct universal suffrage in 2024
By Peter Schulte profile image Peter Schulte
4 min read

Somalia to introduce direct universal suffrage in 2024

And nine more of this week's milestones for climate, justice, democracy, health, and more.

Somalia to introduce direct universal suffrage in 2024

For decades, Somali politics have been driven by a complex indirect system of representation. Prominent national roles, such as Prime Minister and President, have been divided based on clan affiliations, and national legislators have been elected by state legislatures and clan delegates. This system creates a government that reflects clans' power and priorities far more than it does the will of the people.

This is now set to change. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has vowed to replace this indirect system with universal suffrage (i.e., a "one person, one vote" system) that gives the people a much greater say in who represents them at the local and national levels.

The first such election by universal suffrage has already taken place in the state of Puntland in what has been hailed as a "historic" vote by the United Nations, African Union, and others. Further universal suffrage elections are expected to be implemented nationwide by Spring 2024.

If implemented effectively, universal suffrage can perhaps offer some stability and positive momentum for a country that has been marred by political crises in recent years. It may also apply some pressure on neighboring countries that have not yet enacted this critical democratic reform.

Latvia elects the first openly gay head of state in Europe

The country’s parliament has elected Edgars Rinkēvičs to be its next president. Rinkēvičs publicly came out as gay in November 2014.

India pauses plans to add new coal plants for at least five years

The temporary pause in the growth of the dirty fuel was hailed by energy experts as a positive step for a country that is currently reliant on coal for around 75% of its electricity.

Landmark Nepal court ruling ends impunity for wealthy wildlife collectors

The ruling caps a legal campaign to hold to account wealthy Nepalis who openly display wildlife parts and trophies, even as members of local communities are persecuted for poaching.

Scientists identify bacteria that can break down ‘forever chemicals’

PFAS are used in nonstick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and firefighting foams, and have been linked with higher cholesterol, lower fertility, developmental delays in children, and a greater risk of cancer.

New Zealand announces $140m project to transition its major steel plant from coal to renewable energy

The move is the nation's largest-ever emissions reduction effort and is expected to take the equivalent of 300,000 cars off the road.

Mexico adds nonbinary option to passports

Nonbinary Mexicans now have the option to select “X” as their gender marker, rather than male or female. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the move “a great leap for the freedom and dignity of people.”

Minnesota enacts right-to-repair law that covers more devices than any other U.S. state

Companies that sell in Minnesota but don't offer customers or independent repair shops the materials needed to fix devices within 60 days can be found in violation of state law.

Illinois set to become first U.S. state to end book bans

Governor Pritzker is expected to sign a bill that would block essential state funding for public libraries and public schools in Illinois that ban books.

Groundbreaking Israeli blood cancer treatment has 90% success rate

Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem has announced an “unprecedented achievement” in the treatment of multiple myeloma cancer – the second-most common hematological disease.

France becomes world’s first country to adopt universal suffrage for all men (1793 C.E.)

Universal suffrage (or franchise) ensures the right to vote for as many people who are bound by a government's laws as possible, as supported by the "one person, one vote" principle.

All of the world’s nations guarantee universal suffrage for all citizens (2035 C.E. ???)

As of 2023, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates were the only major nations in the world that did not offer all adult citizens (who are not incarcerated) the right to vote.

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