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Somali Parliament to Select Speaker - 2004-09-15

Somalia's new parliament is expected to select its speaker in Kenya's capital.

There are 13 candidates vying to become speaker of Somalia's 275-seat parliament, which currently sits in Nairobi.

The contenders delivered their speeches earlier in the week. Parliament is scheduled to vote late Wednesday.

Somalia's new government arises out of a two-year peace process that brought together factional leaders, civil society representatives and others to come up with a constitution and a parliament as a way of ending 13 years of civil war.

Peace process spokesman Guled Mohamed, says election of a speaker marks a major milestone in the peace process.

"This is a very big step towards attaining peace in Somalia," he said. I never dreamt of any day like this. Somalis are happy, I know."

Parliament is expected to choose a president in a week's time. The new government is to be in office for a maximum of five years, after which democratic elections are to be held.