Somali Parliamentarians say no to president’s decision

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Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf’s decision to sack Prime Minister Hassan Hussein has been labelled as a further setback to the efforts to clinch a political agreement in Somalia and risks widening the rift in the unstable country. But Somali parliamentarians widely backed the Prime Minister in a move to salvage the situation.

Feuding parliamentarians, who were expected to back the Somali President in his decision to sack the Prime Minister, passed a vote of confidence by 140 votes against 20 legitimising Hassan Hussein’s government, thus bringing to naught the legality of the President’s decision.

The Somali President, who has previously rejected a list of cabinet ministers, mainly comprising a group of moderate Islamists that the Prime Minister had proposed for cabinet appointments, was quoted Sunday as saying the that PM had failed to constitute a cabinet as had been ordered by the President.

In a statement Sunday, AU chief, Jean Ping, that the sacking of the Somali Prime Minister was contrary to the expectations of the international community, which had faithfully awaited the implementation of a power-sharing accord for Somalia.

The sacking of the Somali Prime Minister came a day before a high-level panel of experts, including United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the United Nations, meets in New York under the International Contact Group to discuss piracy in the region.

Ping said the feuding Somali leaders were undermining efforts by the regional bodies, including the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to oversee the implementation of an accord signed in Djibouti in October this year.

The Djibouti accord allows the formation of a unity government, the expansion of the current number of parliamentarians from 275 to 350 and the formation of a joint cabinet and a joint security committee.

Ping said the Somali leaders should implement a peace road map agreed upon by the regional leaders and IGAD ministers in November, 2008 in Addis Ababa.

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