MOGADISHU, Somalia — Politicians have been peeling off wads of hundred dollar bills to buy votes. Others have shown up for parliamentary races standing next to a political nobody who was bribed or coerced into running against them, to make the race look fair. In one case, the mysterious candidate was the politician’s maid.
This week, Somalia, which has languished without a functioning central government for more than 25 years and has been propped up by billions of dollars of American aid, is holding an innovative, closely watched presidential election that United Nations officials have billed as a “milestone.”
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