India’s Modi arrives in France as part of European tour

Updated 10 April 2015

India’s Modi arrives in France as part of European tour

PARIS: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in France on Friday as part of a trans-Atlantic tour, with French authorities hoping to further strengthen relations with the fast-growing Asian nation amid talks about a possible fighter-jet deal.
Modi was greeted by France’s foreign minister at the gilt-domed Invalides military museum — the burial place of Napoleon — and was meeting later with President Francois Hollande for a news conference, a boat ride on the Seine River, and a working dinner.
The French leader has cautioned that the bilateral relationship was more complex than just talks over a possible 12 billion euro ($15 billion) deal for 126 Rafale jets, made by France’s Dassault Aviation.
French and Indian leaders have noted strong bilateral ties in defense, space, nuclear power and technology. Modi was also meeting with French business leaders, and was visiting the National Assembly and the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, in Paris.
Modi, according to the French translation of an interview published Thursday in French daily Le Figaro, said his government sees France as “an important partner to support India’s development.” He was set to travel to the southern French city of Toulouse on Saturday to visit the headquarters of plane-maker Airbus.
The Hindustan Times, a leading New Delhi-based daily, reported Friday that India is considering a direct purchase of two squadrons of Rafales, or up to 40 jets, between governments to avoid negotiations on price that have stalled the deal.
Modi was later traveling to Germany and Canada as part of the trip.


Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

Members of new parliament look on after they were sworn-in at Adan Adde airport in Mogadishu. Somalia is likely to hold elections next year. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 September 2020

Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

  • The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a new prime minister hours after brokering an agreement with regional leaders for elections next year that abandons a promised one-person, one-vote model.
Mohamed’s office announced late Thursday the appointment of Mohamed Hussein Roble, a Swedish-trained civil engineer and political neophyte, and “wished him to take duties and tasks ahead with diligence.”
He fills a vacancy left when former Premier Hassan Ali Khaire was removed by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021.
The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.
However, the process has been held up by political infighting between the president — better known by his nickname Farmajo — and the country’s regional leaders.
Somalia had set itself the goal of holding its first fully democratic, one-man, one-vote election since 1969 — as opposed to a complex system in which special delegates pick lawmakers who then vote for the president.
But an agreement reached between the president, five regional leaders and the mayor of Mogadishu has conceded that such a vote would be impossible within the time frame remaining before Somalia’s parliament expires in November, and Farmajo’s term ends in February.
In an official communique, the negotiators said delegates from Somalia’s myriad clans would elect the 275 MPs of the lower house, which in turn chooses the president.

SPEEDREAD

The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.

While the process mirrors the last election held in 2017, it will go a bit further in terms of inclusivity, with 27,775 delegates voting — almost twice as many as last time.
No timeline was given, and it remains unclear what role the country’s independent election commission will play, with the federal and state governments to appoint their own agencies to oversee their respective polls.
The plan still needs to be approved by Somalia’s parliament.
The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation.
But observers had warned that such a goal was looking increasingly unlikely due to tensions with the states, technical aspects such as voter registration, and security challenges posed by the Al-Shabab militant group.
The fragile central government, chaired by Farmajo, controls only a part of Somali territory and relies on an international peacekeeping force to confront a violent insurgency from Al-Shabab in the countryside.
Mogadishu had been criticized by observers for engaging in political feuds with federal states to gain control in the election process, rather than focusing on the fight against the militants.