The long-serving powerful president of Somalia’s Southwest State has resigned and pulled out his presidential race Wednesday, just days before the region holds the much-awaited election slated to take place by Nov. 17, officials said.
Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden who had been in power since 2014 has announced his resignation in Baidoa, the regional state’s administrative capital.
His resignation follows days of speculations that he was contemplating to quit after the region’s electoral commissioners including the chairman have resigned from their posts in a surprise move that observers said preceded a political ploy by Mr. Sharif to delay the election in the face of pressing challenges by allied rival candidates who are reportedly vying to unseat him.
Mr. Aden’s resignation brings sigh of relief for the central government which considered him as a political threat due to his political influence within the regional states’ bloc which is locked in a tough political challenge with the government of which he played a key role.
According to analysts, his departure had also dealt a blow to the opposition regional states and will make it easier for the government to install its oan favorite leader into the region which is expected to elect a new leader in a few weeks.
Mr. Aden who wielded a significant influence in the region’s day-to-day politics was facing tough challenges in his bid for re-election in the forthcoming election which is expected to be a highly contested one.
Aden, a former Somali parliament speaker had been involved in the Southwestern politics since it was re-established as a Federal Member State of Somalia in 2009.
Critics accused of him of ruling with iron fist and bribery, prompting demands for a new era of change with the need for more accountable and transparent leader.