Somalia's prime minister and regional leaders on Sunday agreed to conclude the ongoing parliamentary elections by Feb. 25.
The decision came after a week-long national consultative conference chaired by premier Mohamed Hussein Roble and attended by the regional leaders of Galmudug, South West, Hirshabelle, Puntland, Jubaland, and the mayor of Mogadishu, the country's capital. They agreed on an 18-point agenda on the elections, the prime minister's office said after the meeting was concluded in Mogadishu.
A statement issued by the leaders underlined the independence of the Federal Electoral Commission and Federal Member Commissions in the conduct of the elections, in accordance with the previous election agreements.
"The election of each seat shall be witnessed by the Electoral Commission, media, and independent observers in order to ensure the transparency and openness of the elections," the statement said.
The meeting was held after a fresh political standoff between the country's leaders emerged and the election commission ousted its chairman for "violating the independence of the electoral body."
Opposition candidates, comprising two former presidents, have already boycotted the parliamentary elections alleging lack of transparency, voter fraud, and violation of the electoral procedures.