News / Africa

Somali Parliament Approves Cabinet

Somalia's parliament has approved a new cabinet, after a prior attempt to endorse the ministers descended into chaos.

Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden said 251 lawmakers voted in favor of the cabinet at Saturday's session, with 92 voting against it.

The new 18-member cabinet is less than half the size of the previous one, and includes a number of technocrats who have been living outside Somalia.

Some lawmakers opposed the line-up on the grounds it reduces the power of their clans and includes some virtual strangers to Somali politics.

Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, himself a former expatriate, nominated the cabinet earlier this month.   

On Monday, a fight broke out on the floor of Somalia's parliament, as lawmakers argued whether the vote to approve the cabinet should be held by secret ballot or a show of hands.

The transitional Somali government has been plagued by infighting for years.  The turmoil has hampered efforts to fight Islamist insurgents who want to turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.

Mr. Mohamed replaced Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake, who resigned in September after feuding with President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed about a new constitution.

Until his recent appointment, Mr. Mohamed was living in the U.S. city of Buffalo, working as a teacher.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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