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Somali Lawmakers Elect New Parliament Speaker


Somali lawmakers have elected a new speaker of parliament to replace one fired for negotiating with the recently-defeated Islamist movement.

Officials say Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nour won Wednesday's election with 153 votes. The new speaker thanked fellow lawmakers and promised to be fair and just to all.

Runner-up Ibrahim Aden Hassan, who received 54 votes, conceded defeat.

Nour (also known as Aden Madowe) is considered a close ally of Somalia's interim President Abdullahi Yusuf.

He replaces Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, who lawmakers voted out of office on January 17. Aden angered many of his colleagues last year when he opened talks with Islamists who then controlled much of southern Somalia.

The country's transitional government defeated Islamist militias in a joint December offensive with Ethiopian forces.

African nations are now trying to assemble a peacekeeping force to stabilize the country as the Ethiopians withdraw.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

On Tuesday, President Yusuf, agreed to hold a national reconciliation conference aimed at ending 16 years of conflict among rival Somali clans.

Wednesday's voting took place in Baidoa, the seat of the transitional government.

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