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Somali PM issues new cabinet list after MP veto

Somali government in session/FILE

Somali government in session/FILE

Somalia, Jan 28 – Somalia’s new prime minister on Tuesday proposed a new cabinet after parliament rejected his last list of candidates, prompting international concerns political power struggles were stalling progress.

Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, appointed last month after a damaging spat between his predecessor and internationally-backed President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, appealed to lawmakers to pass the latest list.

“The task ahead of us is no easy one and the clock is ticking,” Sharmarke said in a statement released Wednesday.

Winning parliamentary approval, however, means overcoming the country’s complex clan politics, in which each group expects its share of power in Mogadishu, a recipient of billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Last week international donors as well as regional nations warned of their “concerns over political delays”, in a joint statement signed by the African Union, the East African regional bloc IGAD and the United Nations.

“Further delays could jeopardise the progress Somalia has made towards building peace and security,” said the statement, also signed by the European Union, United Nations and United States.

Sharmarke’s decision earlier this month to retract his first list avoided what would have been a highly damaging no-confidence vote.

The new list features just 18 ministers rather than the previous 26 candidates and includes many relatively young Somalis who have been educated abroad.

Somalia is due to vote on a new constitution next year ahead of elections in 2016, but Al-Qaeda affiliated Shebab fighters remain a major threat and stage regular attacks.

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The Somali government, which took power in August 2012, was the first to be given global recognition since the collapse of Siad Barre’s hardline regime in 1991.

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