, MOGADISHU, Sep 24 – Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed named a caretaker prime minister after Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke resigned from the post earlier this week, said a government statement received by AFP Friday.
Deputy Prime Minister Abdiwahid Elmi Gonjeh took over from Sharmarke who stepped down on Tuesday after a lengthy power struggled with Sharif.
"The president appointed me as a caretaker prime minister and all ministers will be working as usual until a new cabinet is appointed. We do not want to create any vacuum," Gonjeh said in the statement.
The African Union chief Jean Ping Friday lauded Sharmarke\’s decision to resign, terming it patriotic and selfless.
Ping "welcomes the selfless decision by… Sharmarke to relinquish his position in the interest of restoring harmony… within the federal institutions of Somalia," he said said in a statement.
Ping "considers the resignation … as a patriotic decision which demonstrates his firm commitment to the realisation of peace and stability in Somalia."
Sharif and Sharmarke had been at odds over a new constitution to replace the interim charter expiring in 2011 which the president wanted to subject to a referendum, but the premier argued it was not possible with the insecurity.
Sharif also blamed his premier for failing to root out the Al Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels waging battles to overthrow the Western-backed government.