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Somali president 'very confident' of new term


Monday, July 23, 2012

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The head of Somalia's corruption-riddled government said Monday he expects to be re-selected as president of the war-torn Horn of Africa nation when his current mandate expires next month.

"I am a strong candidate and I am very confident that I will win," President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told reporters.

Somalia's Western-funded Transitional Federal Government (TFG) ends its mandate next month after years of infighting and minimal political progress.

Transitional institutions, including the presidency and the parliament, were set up in 2004 but must be replaced by permanent institutions by August 20.

Somali elders are due to designate members of a new parliament which will chose the new president by August 20.

Sharif, who faces competition for the presidency from parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, was linked to alleged graft in a UN report leaked earlier this month that called for corrupt leaders to face Security Council sanctions.

Sharif called the allegations "absolutely false" and said that he was unconcerned about the possibility of UN sanctions.

"The UN will look at this and make their own conclusions, but for me my conscience is clear," Sharif said.

Billed as the key to lifting anarchic Somalia out of two decades of civil war, the end of the transitional period comes at a time when regional forces have wrested a series of key strongholds from the Islamist Shebab insurgents.

Somalia has been without a stable central government since the ouster of former president Siad Barre in 1991.

© ANP/AFP



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