Somali Lawmakers Trade Punches, Kicks in Speaker Dispute

Posted December 14th, 2011 at 9:55 am (UTC-5)
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A fistfight erupted in the Somali parliament Wednesday, a day after a group of lawmakers voted to oust Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan.

The fighting began after the anti-Adan lawmakers tried to elect a replacement for the speaker, who is in Italy. The speaker's supporters shouted objections and soon, the sides were trading punches and kicks.

A witness told VOA that two lawmakers suffered minor injuries in the melee.

Somalia's transitional government has been plagued by infighting that has hampered efforts to stabilize the war-torn country.

The latest struggle began Tuesday, when 280 of parliament's 550 members voted to remove the speaker from office. The lawmakers complained that Adan has refused to hold debates on important issues, including a roadmap for Somalia's political future and a new constitution.

The speaker's supporters say the motion did not follow procedure and that the speaker is still in power.