Somalia’s lawmakers elected Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nur as their new speaker on Thursday, following a vote that had been postponed for most of the previous day due to arguments about who would be in charge of the poll’s security.
The election of speakers in the parliament and senate a day earlier are a key step in establishing the new government, which must be in place by May 17 if Somalia is to continue receiving budget support from the International Monetary Fund, the lender said in February.
Nur was declared winner in a vote overseen by Abdisalan Liban Dhabancad, parliament’s interim speaker.
Somalia’s delayed election process has been beset by Islamist violence and a power struggle between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.
Both President Mohamed and Prime Minister Roble sent congratulatory messages to Nur on their Twitter accounts.
On Wednesday, Roble had asked African Union (AU) soldiers to take over protection of lawmakers as they pick the new parliament leadership, after warning police and intelligence officials not to interfere in the long-overdue elections.
Last year political rivalries split the security forces so badly that rival factions of the army took positions in strategic parts of the capital Mogadishu, a rift that has led to a stand-off over security for the elections.
Somalia’s elections had been scheduled for a year ago but were delayed when President Mohamed tried to extend his four-year term by two years, a move thwarted by parliament.
On Tuesday Abdi Hashi, a long-serving senator and critic of the president, was re-elected as speaker of the upper house.