The United Nations envoy to Somalia today applauded the election of the country’s new Speaker of Parliament, welcoming the democratic breakthrough as a moment of progress and optimism for the war-torn African nation.
Professor Mohammed Osman Jawari was today overwhelmingly selected to represent the New Federal Parliament in an election held at the Police Training Academy in Mogadishu, the capital, in which some 230 people participated.
“This is a moment of progress and optimism. Today the Somali legislators have taken an important step on the road to restoring accountable and participatory governance,” the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine P. Mahiga, said in a statement.
The election has laid the groundwork for an imminent round of voting to appoint the Parliament’s Deputy Speakers. This, in turn, would be followed by the election of the Horn of Africa country’s President, which Mr. Mahiga has insisted should take place within ten days.
“It is vital that a complete Parliament is seated as quickly as possible in order to ensure that the election of the President can be accomplished in accordance with the agreed timetable,” the envoy said, urging the New Federal Parliament to be allowed to exercise its complete authority with “independence, transparency and free from undue influence and coercion.”
After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with the country's transitional governing arrangements winding down with the implementation of the so-called Roadmap for the End of Transition.
The measures to end the transition included the drafting of a new Provisional Constitution, and the selection of the Members of Parliament by a group of 135 traditional Somali Elders, with the advice of a Technical Selection Committee.
The inauguration on 20 August of Somalia’s New Federal Parliament marked the long-awaited end of the transitional period in the Horn of Africa nation. Some 260 Members of Parliament have now either been sworn in or are pending imminent ratification, with 15 names still remaining before the new Somali legislature reaches its total of 275 constituents.