UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- The UN special representative for Somalia, Michael Keating, on Friday said that "an immediate priority" is to ensure that the Somali presidential elections take place on the agreed date despite Al Shabab's attempts to discredit and disrupt the election process, including carrying out a number of terrorist attacks this past week that left dozens dead.
Keating, in his briefing to the UN Security Council, said that the Friday council meeting came at an auspicious time following an extended and exhaustive parliamentary electoral process and just 12 days before the presidential election.
The UN envoy also stressed that it was also essential that the last stage of the electoral process is conducted transparently and according to the agreed rules, which were designed to ensure a free and fair election.
The presidential elections were repeatedly delayed in the Horn of Africa country.
The election delays have worried some in the international community, which had expressed interest in having the votes carried out this year.
Somalia has been trying to rebuild after recently establishing its first functioning central government since 1991.