First Published: 2012-08-28


Mohamed Osman Jawari elected as new Somali parliament speaker


Jawari’s election clears way for presidential bid of outgoing PM Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, US-educated economist who comes from Puntland.


Middle East Online

Legal expert who helped draft new constitution

MOGADISHU - Veteran Somali politician Mohamed Osman Jawari, a former minister, was elected as the speaker of the war-torn nation's new parliament, the outgoing interim speaker said Tuesday.

The United Nations-backed process, which will culminate in lawmakers choosing the country's new president, is the latest bid to end two decades of instability in the Horn of Africa nation.

"After a successful election which was conducted in a transparent way, I declare... Mohamed Osman Jawari to be the speaker of the Somali parliament," said Musse Hassa Abdulle, the oldest lawmaker in the house.

Somalia has not had a stable central government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, which sparked rounds of bloody civil war.

Jawari, a minister under Siad Barre, is a legal expert who helped draft a new constitution for the war-torn nation, working alongside the UN.

The selection of speaker will impact the subsequent parliamentary vote for president, as Somali politicians have traditionally tried to share out the seats between rival clans.

The contest for president is expected to begin within days. Bitter arguments have begun between challengers for the country's top job, divided along Somalia's notoriously fractious clan lines.

Jawari is from the Rahanweyn clan from the southern Baidoa region.

Five candidates began the race Tuesday for the powerful post of speaker, but Jawari won the first round of the secret ballot by over 40 votes.

As he prepared to face a second-round ballot, the only other remaining contender -- former prime minister Ali Khalif Galayr, from the Darod clan in the northern Puntland region -- conceded defeat.

"I have resigned and I am not running for the speaker of the Somali parliament, I am thanking all those who voted for me and for the others," Galayr told lawmakers.

The election clears the way for the presidential bid of outgoing Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, a US-educated economist who comes from Puntland.

However, it is likely to complicate the bid of former speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, who comes from the same Baidoa region as Jawari.

Outgoing president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, in power since 2009, is one of the favourites for the top job, though he cuts a controversial figure with Western observers.

A UN report in July said that under his presidency, "systematic embezzlement, pure and simple misappropriation of funds and theft of public money have become government systems" -- claims Sharif has rejected.

Under the UN-backed process, members of the new parliament are selected by a group of traditional elders.

Around 260 of the legislature's 275 members have been chosen so far, the majority sworn into office last week on the tarmac of the capital's airport, protected by African Union troops.

The nearly 17,000-strong AU force has propped up Somalia's Western-backed leadership against attacks by the country's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents.


Nobel Peace Prize goes to Tunisian democracy group

UN envoy proposes Libya unity government led by Sarraj

Iran Revolutionary Guards commander killed in Syria

IS militants advance on Syria's Aleppo

Russian volunteers fighting for Assad regime

UN chief hails Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize

Israeli troops kill 4 near Gaza border as Hamas praises 'Jerusalem intifada'

US to 'refocus' failed Syrian rebel training programme

France carries out second wave of strikes on IS targets in Syria

Jew stabs four Arabs in southern Israel

At least 13 killed in Yemen wedding bombing

Three more stabbing attacks as Palestine-Israel violence continues

Violence in Jerusalem continues

Turkey gives EU's migrant plan offer lukewarm reception

Erdogan uses nuclear, gas deals to pressure Russia over Syria

HRW urges statement from West over imprisoned Bahrain dissidents

EU aim to have migrant 'hotspots' ready by end of November ‘unrealistic’

Israeli PM bars ministers from Al-Aqsa compound

US has not yet made decision on Syria no-fly zone

After nuclear deal, Iran takes central role to end Syria war

Escape or temporary move: Erdogan son settles in Italy

ISIS attack complicates task for Arab coalition in Yemen

Syria army launches broad ground operation in Hama province

Israel-Palestinian unrest at risk of turning into religious war

Number of confirmed cholera cases rises to 1,200 in Iraq

Russia ‘ready’ to establish contacts with Free Syrian Army

Turkey arrests six people over 'minting coins for ISIS’

US insists no military cooperation with Russia in Syria conflict

Russia warships fire cruise missiles to back Syria army operation

New violence rocks Israel, West Bank

Mortar attack wounds Lebanon soldiers near border with Syria

Iraq forces recapture several areas around Ramadi

Saleh’s party ‘ready’ for UN-brokered Yemen peace

Erdogan’s vision of Syria’s future torn up by Putin

IS bombings will not deter Yemen govt from staying in Aden

EU to ease Turkey migrant burden on conditions

EU kicks off military operation against ‘mafia of the sea’

Russia air strikes targeting Chechen jihadists in Syria

Russia examining US proposals to coordinate Syria strikes

Russia hints at willingness on Syria 'deconfliction' with US

France may strip five terrorists of nationality

Israel demolition policy: Collective punishment in violation of international law

Violence in Yemen may trigger world's next great refugee crisis

EU to 'step up' work on resettlement of refugees from Turkey

Tunisia dismantles three ISIS recruitment cells