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Dispute Delays Approval of New Somali PM


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 new political crisis appears to be brewing in Somalia, where leaders cannot agree how parliament should vote for the next prime minister.

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed says lawmakers must cast their votes openly, while the speaker of parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, has said parliament will vote by secret ballot.

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

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

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

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.

Islamist groups al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam control most of central and southern Somalia, though pro-government forces have recaptured some territory in recent weeks.

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.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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