Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Somalia swears in 211 new members of parliament

Yesterday marks the end of the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government, however the number of parliamentarians falls short of target and election of president is delayed.

MOGADISHU // In a milestone for war-ravaged Somalia, the country's chief justice has sworn in 211 new members of parliament.

However, the number fell short of what was required as Somalian leaders should have chosen 275 members of parliament and voted for a new president by yesterday, the end of the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government.

The process has been slowed by corruption and intimidation.

Politicians gathered yesterday not in the city's parliament building, but Mogadishu's heavily fortified airport zone under the protection of African Union troops, due to the fear of attack by Al Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents.

The parliament's interim speaker Musa Hassan Abdallah appealed yesterday to the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) for an "alternative place of safe haven" to meet.

Selection of the new legislature was the first in Somalia for more than 20 years. Previous efforts were conducted outside the country because of the threat of attack from warlords and Islamist fighters.

The airport adjoins the base for the nearly 17,000-strong AU force, which has propped up Somalia's western-backed leadership against attacks by the hardline Shebab.

The parliament held its inaugural session on the airport tarmac, with the election of speaker and president expected in the coming days.

"The presidential elections will not be held today," said Aweys Qarni, a legislator. "The election committee must still be convened ... There is still work to go before the presidential elections."

Abinasir Garale, who served in the previous parliament and is part of the new legislature, said they would hold elections soon.

Despite delays, the process of forming a new government was hailed as an "unprecedented opportunity for greater peace and stability" in a joint statement on Sunday from the UN, AU, United States and European Union. Analysts have taken a gloomier outlook on the process, suggesting it offers little but a reshuffling of positions.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National