New Somali Parliament Sworn In

Posted August 20th, 2012 at 12:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Somalia's new parliament was sworn in Monday, as the country moves ahead with efforts to establish a stable, permanent government.

Two hundred eleven lawmakers took office in a ceremony held under tight security at the Mogadishu airport, to prevent attacks by the militant group al-Shabab. Another 64 seats have yet to be filled in a process slowed by corruption.

In an interview with VOA , Constitution and Reconciliation Minister Abirahman Hosh Jibril says the new lawmakers will elect a speaker and deputies by August 27 and a new Somali president by early September.

Lawmakers Monday elected a temporary speaker, General Muse Hassan, the oldest member of parliament at 72.

The country missed the August 20 deadline to elect new leaders under a U.N.-backed roadmap to end an eight-year transitional government.

U.N. officials and international partners issued a hopeful statement Sunday, saying Somalia has an “unprecedented opportunity for greater peace and stability.”

Last month, an 825-member Constituent Assembly passed a new provisional constitution.

Somalia has endured 20 years of chaos and conflict since warlords overthrew President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

The Transitional Federal Government, established in 2004, has been unable to assert power and bring stability to the fractured country because of chronic infighting.

Security has improved in the capital, Mogadishu, since an African Union force and Somali government troops drove out militant group al-Shabab last year.