Somali PM Defies Deal, Refuses to Resign

Posted June 14th, 2011 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Somalia's prime minister is refusing to resign, defying a deal made by the president and parliamentary speaker to pave the way for a new government.

Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said Tuesday that he will stay in office following a wave of public support for him that included demonstrations in Mogadishu.

Mr. Mohamed said he will step down only if parliament fires him.

Last week, Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden signed an agreement meant to head off a political crisis.

The mandate of Somalia's transitional government runs out in August, and Somali leaders remain at odds over how to proceed beyond then.

The agreement postponed presidential elections until August 2012 but also said Prime Minister Mohamed must step down within 30 days, to be replaced by a new prime minister who would appoint a new Cabinet.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government in 20 years, since warlords overthrow dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Chronic infighting has prevented successive governments from stabilizing the chaotic country. The current government is trying to retake parts of the capital and southern Somalia held by the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab.