As reported in this article on Slate, the answer can be found in Somalia… kind of. Just in time for an African Union conference, an “election committee” of Somali MPs is currently meeting outside the Somalian border, in Djibouti’s Kempinski Hotel. They are reviewing a stack of fresh applications, some just arriving in the past few days. The requirements for candidacy: a resume, a photo and a $2,000 application fee.
Obviously, the last minute preparation, small scope of voting participants and lack of credible requirements for leadership condemn this presidential election from the start — yet another figurehead position for the nation of Somalia. Even before recent media attention was brought to Somalia by the increase in pirating in the region, the world was well aware of this nation’s unique position as the worst case scenario in governance challenges.
The new “president” will enter office remotely, without a government structure or electoral base to support his or her efforts. While the show may look good at the African Union conference, elections are not going to fix Somalia’s chaotic state, especially if they are conducted without meaningful oversight or voter participation.
The lack of organized government in Somalia made it a unique candidate for our Global Integrity Report: 2008. Our findings on the governance and accountability mechanisms of Somalia are due to be released in mid-February, but we can preview this: it’s the worst we’ve ever seen.
— Norah Mallaney