Somali prime minister refuses to leave office

Somalia’s prime minister said on Tuesday he was not ready to resign although President Sheikh Ahmed Sheikh Sharif said he would replace him after parliament passed a vote of no confidence in his cabinet.

“I met the president and informed him that I wouldn’t submit a resignation because his decision is not supported by the transitional charter,” Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke told reporters at his official residence next to the presidential palace.

“There was no majority parliament vote of no confidence against my government. According to the 44th and 51st articles of the charter, the prime minister can be removed from his position if 50 percent of MPs reject his government in a vote.”

Sharmarke said he had ordered cabinet members to continue with their work.

Parliamentary speaker Sheikh Aden Madobe, who resigned on Monday, said 280 MPs had voted against the government, 30 in favour and eight abstained. There are 550 legislators in President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s Western-backed administration.

Analysts had speculated that Sharmarke and Madobe had reached a gentlemen’s agreement with the president to step aside and allow for the formation of a new government in which they would be offered posts.

Parliament had not held any meeting since December until Sunday’s vote because many legislators live in neighbouring Kenya, or in Europe and North America.

The chamber has also been split by a feud over the duration of Madobe’s term in office and his competence.

Madobe’s deputy, Mohamed Omar Dalha, said he would also not quit because the transitional charter did not require him to.

“I am very concerned about the disagreement in the government, which could cause a total collapse of the transitional federal government,” he told News Agency.

“I met the international community last night and the representatives of the countries involved in Somali and all are concerned over this matter.”

Somalia has been mired in violence and lacked effective central government since the overthrow of a dictator in 1991. Islamist fighters have waged a three-year insurgency that has killed more than 21,000 people.



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