Somali lawmakers to elect new president

2012-08-20 10:05
Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. (AP)

Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mogadishu - Somalia's newly appointed legislature elects the country's next president on Monday, in a fresh bid to end two decades of unstable central government in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation.

The election will complete a complex process set in motion through a UN-backed agreement aimed at ending eight years of rule by Somalia's graft-riddled, Western-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and, it is hoped, will bring peace.

Outgoing president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, in power since 2009, is one of the favourites for the top job, though he cuts a controversial figure with Western observers.

A UN report in July said that under his presidency, "systematic embezzlement, pure and simple misappropriation of funds and theft, of public money have become government systems".

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and the outgoing parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan are also contenders for the post.

Somalia has lacked an effective central government since president Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991, unleashing cycles of conflict that have defied countless peace initiatives.

20 August deadline

Ruthless warlords and militia groups including al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents have controlled mini-fiefdoms that the African Union and other troops have only recently started to reconquer.

With several previous attempts at installing a new central government ending in failure, the international community has done everything to ensure that this latest deadline of 20 August - when the TFG's mandate expires - succeeds.

On Monday, the new parliament - comprising a 275-member lower house and a yet-to-be-launched upper house with a maximum of 54 members - will hold its first session to vote for the president.

The vote will only go ahead if a quorum of more than two-thirds of the lower house - 184 members - is present.

But doubts remain that the transition process will be successfully completed.

"We are heading towards a botched process," said one Western diplomat, adding that an extension of the deadline by "a month, maximum" would have bought the time needed to give parliament some legitimacy.

200 new parliamentarians

Speaking in early August, UN special representative for Somalia Augustine Mahiga condemned "the dealing in favours, the bribes and intimidation" seen during the appointment of the country's new lawmakers.

The names of over 200 new parliamentarians chosen by a technical selection committee from a list prepared by tribal elders were published late on Friday.

The remaining 75 names were still pending at the weekend "because of inter-clan argument and other reasons related to a lack of fulfilment of the conditions", according to committee co-chair Halimo Yarey.

Around 70 nominees were rejected because they did not meet the requirements to serve in parliament. Lawmakers must be Somali citizens of sound mind, have a high school diploma and be free of ties to warlords or links to atrocities committed during the country's civil war.

Each of Somalia's four main clan families - the Darod, Dir, Hawiye and Rahanweyn - are represented.

Read more on:    un  |  al-shabaab  |  somalia  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


For the love of Corgis!

WATCH: 35 Corgi's to make your day! If they’re good enough for the Queen of England they’re good enough for us.



Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.