The world's strangest presidential election. - By Emily Meehan - SlateMagazine
Feb 4, 2009 11:43:36 PM from http://www.slate.com/id/2210160/
Would You Like To Be President of Somalia?If so, send a résumé, photo,and $2,000 to a hotel in Djibouti.
:It has more pirates than any other placein the world, and it has no government.The newsmedia have fixed on these two identifying characteristics. The fifth or sixthparagraphof any 400-word wire story about Somalia will contain both the latest updateon piracy and a reminder that since 1991 Somalia has not had an effective government.Right now in Djibouti, a small, hot country on the Red Sea populated by ethnic Somalis,the Kempinski Hotel is full of people trying to solve these two issues—unfortunately, nottogether.An electoral committee of Somali parliamentarians is examining the résumés andphotographs of a dozen or so candidates who applied to become president of Somalia.The election is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 30, and many of the résumés arrived on Jan.29. Being a citizen of a foreign country is no problem. Theonly prerequisite is anapplication fee of $2,000. There is not enough time for background checks, since thenew president, whoever he may be, is expected at this weekend's African Union summitin Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.The piracy conference, meanwhile, boasts stakeholders from 22 countries in Africa andthe Middle East. It's safe to assume they consider their project of negotiating legalprocedures for prosecuting Somali pirates to be a higher priority than stabilizingSomalia through a legitimate presidential election. They are not the only ones.The United Nations has directed the 30-day process leading to what they are calling an