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IGAD calls on Somali leaders to complete remaining tasks

Saturday, August 25, 2012

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A regional mediation body on Friday called on Somali leaders to swiftly complete the remaining tasks which it said are critical for the completion of the transitional process.

In a statement issued in Nairobi, the Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD) said the successful completion of these tasks will usher the Horn of Africa nation into a new phase of peace and development.

"While these tasks are huge, IGAD believes they are achievable, " said the regional bloc which mediated talks that culminated in the formation of the Transitional Federal Government whose mandate expired on Aug. 20.

"IGAD encourages the Somali stakeholders to pursue these tasks with the patriotism, commitment and sense of responsibility that they have demonstrated since the commencement of the implementation of the Roadmap," the statement said.

Some 215 of the total number of 275 Members of Parliament were sworn in on Monday at an inauguration ceremony in the capital, Mogadishu, passing the benchmark of 185 which allows for the new Federal Parliament to convene with a functioning majority.

However, the newly elected Somali lawmakers resolved to delay the election of the new president of the envisaged permanent government until Aug. 25 to 26.

The new parliament also includes a number of women lawmakers, following a strong push from the international community and the passing of a provisional constitution that guarantees more political rights for women.

Mussa Hassan Abdulle, a former army general was appointed interim Speaker.

The Monday’s inauguration came three weeks after a National Constituent Assembly overwhelmingly approved the Provisional Constitution.

The document was a key part of the Roadmap process, providing a legal framework governing the workings of the new Somali Federal Institutions after Aug. 20.

IGAD called upon the entire Somali political leadership to remain on course and urged the international community to remain vigilant and supportive of the Somali efforts.

The bloc said it hopes the Horn of Africa that which is expected to have a permanent new government will soon begin to play its rightful role among the community of nations.

The Transitional Federal Government was formed in 2004 with a five-year mandate to establish a new constitutional order with all groups represented.

The mandate was extended in 2009 to Aug. 20 when the mandate of the President, the Speaker and his deputies comes to an end.

At least 24 are contesting Somalia’s first post-transition president who, once elected, next month will then choose the prime minister.

However, many candidates gunning for the presidency including PM Abdiweli Mohammed Ali, former parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden and current president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed have already served in a government that has been accused of abetting corruption.

The seven-member regional body said it was closely following with a keen interest in the political developments in Somalia particularly with respect to the political transition in that country.

IGAD said it has received with satisfaction the successful election and subsequent swearing in of the Members of Parliament.

"IGAD therefore congratulates the elected Parliamentarians and the entire Somali stakeholders for the implementation of the transition process thus far," it said.

The regional bloc said it’s waiting with great anticipation for the convening of the ordinary session of parliament on Aug. 25 and 26 and the election of the speaker of parliament.

"This shall be a test for the commitment of the new Parliament and all political actors to end the transition and bring about lasting peace in Somalia," the statement said.

Elections in the Horn of Africa nation were last held in the 1980s and during the civilian administration that existed prior to the seizure of power by the Supreme Revolutionary Council led by the late Siad Barre, in 1969, there were a number of local parties, but they were all outlawed thereafter.

Barre was ousted in 1991 following the civil war that led to emergence of autonomous and semi-autonomous regional states which came under the rule of rival militia groups

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