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Somali Lawmakers Re-elect Parliament Speaker


Somalia’s lower house of parliament re-elected its speaker Wednesday, the first top official chosen in an election process marred by delays and allegations of vote-buying.

Mohamed Osman Jawari won election in the first round with 141 out of 259 votes. His closest challenger, Abdhirashid Mohamed Hiddig, received 97 votes.

The election was originally scheduled for August 20 but postponed because of delays in electing the 275-member lower house of parliament, a process criticized by the international community for alleged malpractices that included bribery and intimidation.

Some seats remain unfilled as Somali politicians attempt to work out disputes.

The 54-member upper house of parliament will elect its speaker in the coming days. The two houses will then elect a president in a date yet to be specified.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is seeking a second term as head of the long-troubled Horn of Africa nation.

The election of Jawari, 71, was expected as he has led the parliament through turbulent times, including the ousting of two prime ministers in two years.

Jawari's opponents say he is an ally of the president because he helped quell a move by some MP's to impeach Mohamud in late 2015; but, his supporters consider him a pragmatist who led on consensus through endless political crises.

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