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Somali President Yusuf Expected to Resign Before Christmas

The embattled President of Somalia's Transitional Federal government, Abdullahi Yusuf is expected to formally resign before Christmas. President Yusuf is reportedly being pressured by the international community to resign after unilaterally sacking Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, which further threatened the stability of the government. The Somali parliament, however voted for Hussein to continue working as prime minister. Yusuf is expected to go before parliament to formally tend in his resignation after losing international support following his public feud with Prime Minister Hussein. Abdalla Haji Ali is a Somali member of parliament. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Baidoa that President Yusuf has no alternative but to resign.

"I think really he (Yusuf) doesn't have a choice. He came back with very, very negative results, he didn't really have any breakthroughs in Nairobi and everything is actually the same. You know the impeachment is there and he cannot get along or reconcile with the prime minister and his government. So, he doesn't have a choice and he has to resign and he has to leave as a matter of fact. That is the proper choice for him," Ali noted.

He said President Yusuf's leadership style has alienated his support base, leaving him isolated and unable to effectively lead Somalia.

"For one thing he doesn't have a support in the parliament. And secondly really he doesn't have the support in the Somali public. At the same time he lost his friends in the IGAD (The Intergovernmental Authority on Development) countries. And he lost the support of the United States and the United Nations. So the president is now in a very isolated situation. He doesn't have any diplomatic support in the EU (European Union) and any other country. And looking at his internal problems in the country he can no longer stay, and if he stays he doesn't have the political support," he said.

Ali said there are laid down regulations if the president of the transitional government steps down.

"According to the constitution, the speaker of the parliament would actually fill the position. He would be the interim president for 30 days until a new president is elected. But while he remains in that position there would be people who would be vying for the position to get elected as the president. And there would certainly be competition there," Ali pointed out.

He said President Yusuf's removal would be a significant blow to the Islamists who he said have been undermining the transitional federal government.

"As a matter of fact, the presence of President Abdullahi Yusuf enables the Islamists to rally support. And as far as President Yusuf leaves the presidency the Islamists will actually lose a lot of support among the people because they were rallying their support on that issue. So, I think the whole political spectrum of Somalia will actually change and the Islamists will lose some support among the people because people will actually see who will be the president, and how he would deal with the serious security matters of Somalia. And I think the cohesion of the transitional federal government would improve," he said.

Meanwhile, some political observers say the transitional government and the international community must deal with Islamists to avoid a security crisis when Ethiopian troops withdraw later this December. They contend that Ethiopia's withdrawal may offer Somalia a chance for a credible political process.

Neighboring Ethiopia has provided military support for Somalia's transitional government, which has had Western backing since December 2006. But the Ethiopian troops have been the target of incessant daily attacks by an Islamist insurgency that controls most of the country's south.