Somali parliament endorses new prime minister

Somali parliament endorses new prime minister

Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:36PM GMT

Somali parliament has endorsed Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke to serve as the new prime minister of the country.

The 54-year-old political heavyweight, who was appointed last week, is the first person to hold the post twice. He was given unanimous approval on Wednesday.

“There is huge task ahead of the endorsed prime minister including the formation of a quality cabinet,” said Somali Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari.

Sharmarke replaces Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, who was voted out of office by parliament due to bitter disagreements with President Hassan Sheik Mohamud over a cabinet reshuffle, and the overthrow of an intelligence chief.

“I’m very happy that I have picked Omar Abdirashid Ali as the new prime minister of the country. I expect him to fulfill his commandments,” the Somali president said during a ceremony at Villa Somalia presidential compound in the capital, Mogadishu, on December 17.

Mohamud also stated that Somalia is at a critical juncture and needs a new prime minister to lay out an ambitious plan for the country’s political future.

The United Nations, the United States and the European Union had all expressed concern over infighting at Villa Somalia.

Sharmarke served as prime minister in a Western-backed transitional government between 2009 and 2010. He resigned after falling out with then President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

The new premier faces an uphill battle to rein in corruption, defeat al-Shabab militants and rebuild war-ravaged Somalia.

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