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Friday 20 April 2018
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ZongoNews Radio

Somali speaker resigns ahead of impeachment bid: MPs

The speaker of Somalia’s parliament resigned on Monday after weeks of political turmoil over efforts by the executive to have him impeached, lawmakers said.

Members of parliament told AFP that the speaker had quit ahead of a planned session to discuss the motion of impeachment, which came after around a hundred 100 MPs signed a motion of no-confidence against him in mid-March.

“The deputy speaker read a statement and said that speaker Mohamed Sheik Osman Jawari has resigned. This has pleased the lawmakers because it ended the long-standing conflict,” said MP Dahir Amin Jesow, who backed the motion.

“We thank him and appreciate that he has decided to eventually leave. Within two weeks, there should be an election for a new speaker under the constitution,” Dahir Amin Jesow, a lawmaker said during a press conference.

It is unclear what led to the power struggle between the executive and legislative branches of government.

The tussle sparked political tension in the Somali capital and led foreign allies to call for dialogue.

The motion of no-confidence signed in March split the 275-seat house. Some lawmakers who had signed it withdrew their signatures at the last minute, leading to a dispute over the required quorum.

Jawari said several times he had been asked to resign by government, but demanded the impeachment process be followed.

He accused government of dispatching police to the parliament buildings as an intimidation measure – which the executive denied. The tensions led to increased security on the streets of the capital, and key roads were closed for several days.

Last week an effort to convene parliament to debate how to proceed with the impeachment vote was held up after accusations that the speaker entered the house with heavily-armed guards, which he denied.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since the 1991 overthrow of president Siad Barre’s military regime which ushered in decades of anarchy and conflict.

Parliamentary seats in Somalia are distributed according to clan, the organising principle of politics in the country.

Jawari has been speaker since 2012.

-AFP