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November 11, 2013

Somali President Seeks PM's Resignation

by VOA News

Somalia's president has asked the prime minister to resign, in a blow to the rare political stability Somalia has experienced for the past year.

Sources within the Somali government said that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud asked Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon to resign on Friday, on the grounds that Shirdon has been ineffective in his job.

The sources said the situation was unresolved as of Monday.

The president and prime minister came to power a little more than 12 months ago as part of a U.N.-backed process to give Somalia a stable central government after more than two decades of chaos and conflict.

Shirdon was a political newcomer at the time, having previously worked as a businessman in Kenya.

The country has enjoyed relative peace and a budding prosperity since then, though militant group al-Shabab continues to carry out periodic attacks in the capital, Mogadishu.

If Shirdoon were to resign, it would be the first major shakeup in the government since Somalia's parliament elected Mohamud as president.

Previous Somali governments often fell apart because of infighting - a situation that hampered the governments' ability to defeat insurgents and exert authority.

Al-Shabab was pushed out of major cities mainly by African Union troops.

Even now, the Mohamud government has found it hard to settle power struggles within Somalia, where many towns are under the effective control of various clans, militia groups or al-Shabab.