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Discussions Begin to Resolve Feud Between Somali Leaders

  • Peter Clottey

Somalia president Sharif Sheik Ahmed, right, speaks, during the first session in parliament since he named the new prime minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Speaker of Parliament Sherif Hassan Sheik Adan, is at left, in Parliament hall, Mogadishu, Somali

Somalia president Sharif Sheik Ahmed, right, speaks, during the first session in parliament since he named the new prime minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Speaker of Parliament Sherif Hassan Sheik Adan, is at left, in Parliament hall, Mogadishu, Somali

A Somali legislator said there are ongoing discussions to end the dispute between President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and the speaker of parliament over the confirmation of newly appointed Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

Abdullahi Sheik said sharp differences between parliamentarians forced Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, speaker of the Somali parliament, to postpone the prime minister’s confirmation hearing.

“The rationale behind this postponement of the parliament to convene is to give more time for consultations among the MPs (members of parliament). Because you don’t want to go to the meeting to confirm the nomination of the prime minister while there are different opinions on the matter. That is the reason why the assembly meeting has been postponed.”

President Sheik Ahmed called on the speaker Sunday to, in his words, uphold the law and not obstruct lawmakers from discharging their constitutional duties.

This came after the parliament speaker insisted that legislators will vote by secret ballot during the confirmation process of the newly appointed prime minister.

Legislator Sheik said the disagreement between the president and the Prime Minister forms part of the learning process for Somalia’s democratic journey.

Somalia's transitional government has been wracked by infighting for years, hampering its efforts to fight an Islamist insurgency.

Observers say a new political crisis appears to be brewing in Somalia, where both the president and the speaker of parliament cannot agree how parliament should vote for the next prime minister.

The dispute has forced a repeated delay of a vote on prime minister-nominee Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

Some analysts say the impasse sends a wrong signal to the international community and Somalis and it could embolden the hard-line insurgents to intensify their attacks on the Somali administration.

But, legislator Sheik is of a different opinion.

“Frankly speaking, it is better to do something quite conclusive and well- organized than being in a hurry and then creating a new havoc which can create (further) havoc in the country.”

President Sharif and the previous Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashir Ali Sharmake, feuded for months over a new constitution before Prime Minister Sharmake resigned in September.

United Nations and foreign diplomats have urged the government to strive for unity to better combat the insurgent threat.

The president's new nominee for the post, Mohamed, is a former Somali diplomat who currently lives in the eastern U.S. state of New York.

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