Somali parly must vote on PM's axing

2011-06-12 23:06

Mogadishu - A deal signed by Somalia's president and parliament speaker providing for the dismissal of the prime minister and his government needs parliament's approval, the cabinet said.

The ministers said late on Saturday they had met with Prime Minister Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed to discuss the agreement signed two days earlier that extends the mandate of the transitional government by one year and defers elections to August next year.

Abdullahi Mohamed has so far not commented publicly on the deal signed by President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

"After discussing issues in the Kampala accord, the cabinet members decided the accord must be sent to parliament for endorsement," the cabinet said in a statement.

"The resignation of the prime minister, his cabinet members and the implementation of other articles in the agreement will depend on the approval of parliament," it added.

The mandate for the UN-backed government was supposed to expire on August 20 and the United Nations had been pressing for the parties to decide when elections could be held in the strife-torn Horn of Africa country.

Somalia's transitional government, which was set up in 2004 in Kenya and owes its survival to the international community, has been weakened by infighting between its leaders which has worsened as the end of the mandates approached.

Sharif had previously called for the extension, saying Somalia was too unstable for elections as it battles al-Qaeda inspired Islamist militants.

Parliament and the government earlier announced unilateral prolongations of their respective mandates but came in for international criticism.

The signing of the Kampala accord was followed by two straight days of clashes between supporters of Abdullahi Mohamed and security personnel in Mogadishu. Friday's clashes left two civilians dead.

They died when hundreds came out to protest President Sharif's demand for the prime minister to resign within 30 days.

Sharif on Sunday condemned the protests.

"The political disputes of the Somali leadership had been solved in the Kampala meeting," he told a press conference in the capital.

"The violent rallies in which protesters burned civilian properties were illegal," he said, calling them "the work of some elements with particular agendas".

He said Shabaab Islamist insurgents were taking advantage of security gaps caused by the protests.

"The enemy taking advantage of the protests has already targeted the seaport and the interior minister," he said.

He was referring to two suicide attacks, one in Mogadishu's porton  Thursday that killed one civilian and a second on Friday that killed Somali interior minister Abdishakur Sheikh Hassan at his home. Both attacks were claimed by the Shabaab.

The Kampala accord got the approval of the international community, with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the United Nations' Somalia representative Augustine Mahiga both witnessing the signing.