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Somali Parliament Approves New PM

Somalia Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid listens to a question from the media in Mogadishu, October 6, 2012.
Somalia's parliament has officially approved Abdi Farah Shirdoon as the country's new prime minister.

All 215 lawmakers present for Wednesday's vote endorsed his appointment.

Shirdoon was sworn in immediately and said he will form a competent cabinet as soon as possible.

The U.N. special representative to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, said Shirdoon's approval is "further incontrovertible evidence of progress in Somalia."

Mahiga encouraged the prime minister to "immediately begin the critical work of establishing a transparent, efficient and accountable government."

The United Nations has strongly backed a plan to build a stable central authority in Somalia, which has endured more than 20 years of instability and unrest.

Hopes for stability have risen as government troops and African Union forces push back the militant group al-Shabab.

The prime minister, a political newcomer, is a Kenya-based businessman and the husband of Asha Haji Elmi, a prominent peace activist.

Shirdoon told reporters last week that his upcoming cabinet will fight against corruption and nepotism.

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