, KAMPALA, June 9 – Somalia\’s transitional President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and the parliament speaker signed Thursday a deal extending their terms for a year, pushing back polls due in August, the government said.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni witnessed the signing of the accords by Sharif and speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden to prolong their mandates, a government statement said.
They agreed "to defer elections of the President and the Speaker and his deputies for twelve months from August, 2011 in order to adequately prepare and complete priority transitional tasks," the accord said.
Sharif had previously called for the extension, saying Somalia was too unstable for elections as it battles Al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist militants.
The mandate for the UN-backed government was supposed to expire on August 20 and the United Nations had been pressing for the parties to decide when elections could be held.
The accord stipulates "Elections for President and Speaker of Parliament will have to take place prior to August 20, 2012."
Museveni said last week a one-year mandate extension would avoid jeopardising military gains by African Union troops against the militants.
Uganda has contributed several thousand troops to the African Union force that is backing the transitional institutions.
Thursday\’s agreement also provides for the prime minister to resign within 30 days and for the president to appoint a successor.
Somalia\’s transitional government, which was set up in 2004 in Kenya and owes its survival to the international community, has been weakened by infighting between its leaders which has worsened as the end of the mandates approached.
The mandates of the government, parliament and president, elected in early 2009 by parliament, were all supposed to end in August.