Somalia: Parliament Approves New Prime Minister

Somalia’s lawmakers on Wednesday approved the appointment of new Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, who vowed to end the infighting slowing Somalia’s efforts to rebuild after decades of war.

Sharmarke, who served as prime minister between 2009-2010, becomes Somalia’s third premier in just over a year. The previous two fell out with the president over the make-up of their cabinets.

IMG_2119 IMG_2130

The ouster of Sharmarke’s predecessor, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, frustrated Western powers that say the political paralysis encouraged Islamist al Shabaab rebels and paralyzed the country’s fragile state institutions.

“I will soon name an all-inclusive cabinet of ministers,” Sharmarke said soon after 218 of the 224 legislators present in Mogadishu’s parliament approved his appointment.

Most of the high-ranking political positions in Mogadishu are divided amongst Somalia’s clans, which tend to compete against each other for resources and power.

“I assure you that there will be no political conflict, everything will be solved through consultation and discussion,’ Sharmarke added.

Sharmarke, 54, quit as prime minister in 2010 due to the government’s failure to counter a raging Islamist insurgency.

President Mohamed Siad Barre’s overthrow in 1991 plunged Somalia into turmoil, first at the hands of clan warlords and then Islamist militants, who have steadily lost ground since 2011 under pressure from an African Union military offensive.

(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Source: Reuters