Vote to expand Somali parliament shows commitment to restore stability – UN envoy

Vote to expand Somali parliament shows commitment to restore stability – UN envoy

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
The top United Nations envoy to Somalia today welcomed the decision by the Transitional Federal Parliament, tasked with electing the strife-torn nation’s next president in the coming days, to increase its size by another 275 members.

The new president is expected to take office on 31 January, appoint a prime minister and form a government of national unity, in a bid to bring stability to a nation that has not had a functioning central government since 1991 and has been plagued by violence and humanitarian suffering.

“This is a very good result and will demonstrate to the Somali people that their leaders are committed to moving forward together to restore peace and stability,” said UN Special Representative for Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah.

Up to 200 new members of Parliament, selected by the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) are expected to be sworn in in Djibouti, where talks on the formation of a new government are currently taking place. The other 75 seats are being kept for members of civil society and the opposition who are not members of the ARS.

The Transitional Federal Government and the ARS agreed last October on the outline of enlarging the Transitional Federal Parliament and forming a government of national unity.

It followed the UN-facilitated peace agreement signed by the two sides last June, known as the Djibouti Agreement, by which they agreed to end their conflict.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah expressed the hope that the decision taken today will mean that Somalia will have a new president who will be able to attend the African Union Summit of Heads of State in Addis Ababa on 1 February, “demonstrating the progress that was made here in a short space of time.”