MOGADISHU, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke on Wednesday accused neighboring countries of interference in the forthcoming presidential elections which has attracted 24 candidates.
Sharmarke told a news conference in Mogadishu that there is a political agenda in which troop contributing countries are involved to push for a particular candidate in the elections which will be held on Feb. 8
"We are in a very sensitive situation at the moment, we are in election, there is a heavy pressure and interference from foreign countries, in particular, in some neighboring countries, we need them to respect and avoid interference to enable us decide our future," he said.
However, the outgoing Somalia premier did not name the particular countries but only said are countries which provide security assistance to Somalia.
"Such countries provide security assistance to our country, but they must not be involved in our elections. They should let our members of parliament a free hand to vote. We are a sovereign state," Sharmarke said.
Some 24 candidates will be contesting for the presidency in the Feb. 8 after several delays that were occasioned by clan differences and elections of members of both houses.
The incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, his Prime Minister Sharmarke and former President Shariff Sheikh Ahmed are among some of the leading candidates duly cleared for the race.