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New Somali cabinet approved by parliament

A cabinet named by Somalia's new prime minister was approved by parliament on Saturday after a previous attempt to endorse the ministers descended into chaos

Reuters, Saturday 27 Nov 2010
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A cabinet named by Somalia's new prime minister was approved by parliament on Saturday after a previous attempt to endorse the ministers descended into chaos, legislators said.

Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a teacher who had been living in the United States before his nomination in October, had named a trimmed-down cabinet of 18 ministers, less than half the size of the previous cabinet.
The new cabinet includes a number of technocrats from the Somalia diaspora and faces the challenging task of coming up with a new constitution and holding elections before the transitional government's mandate expires in August next year.

Mohamed has made tackling insecurity his priority. The government controls less than half of the capital Mogadishu and has made little headway in defeating insurgents who control most of southern and central Somalia.
Legislators told Reuters that with just over 250 of the MPs present voting in favour, parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden declared the cabinet approved.

The Somali parliament has 550 members although well below 400 were present on Saturday. Some MPs grumbled that the cabinet approval was illegitimate as fewer than half the total number of legislators had voted in favour.

"The cabinet cannot be approved by 251 votes. It was supposed to be 276 votes, so it is unconstitutional," legislator Mohamed Abdi told Reuters. "Moreover, this government is not fit to work in this current situation."

There was opposition to the new cabinet from the start, from supporters of outgoing ministers and from others who felt their clans were not sufficiently represented. Only two ministers, including Finance and Treasury Minister Hussein Abdi Halane, were retained from the previous cabinet.

An attempt to endorse the cabinet earlier this week ended in scuffles between legislators as they argued about whether there should be a show of hands or a secret ballot.

 

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