Somali Parliament Forces PM to Dissolve Cabinet

January 18,2015

MOGADISHU— Somalia's prime minister has dissolved his 60-member cabinet on the day it was to face a confidence vote in the federal parliament. The prime minister has 14 days to propose a new cabinet and to seek a confidence vote in the divided legislature.

Somalia parliament members voiced strong opposition to the cabinet proposed by Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, and he withdrew his list of 60 appointees just hours before a confidence vote in the country’s top lawmaking body.

The prime minister also called for parliament to grant him a 14-day extension to form an administration. Through his spokesman Ridwan Hajji Abdiweli, Sharmarke thanked the 275-member parliament for heeding his request.

“The prime minister has given enough thoughts to the issues raised by Somali lawmakers. And after careful consideration, he will announce a competent government that will have both the support of the Somali parliament and the Somali public,” said Abdiweli.

Political analyst Abukar Al Badri says Sharmarke is likely to face many challenges from the Somali parliament before his cabinet list is endorsed.

“The prime minister is facing a daunting task. He is faced with dealing with a divided parliament and strong opposition of his cabinet appointees by several clans. MPs and clan elders have also voiced concerns over the recent appointments and this might derail the prime minister from delivering on his duties," said Al Badri.

Among the problems that lawmakers had with Sharmarke’s list was the inclusion of former ministers and senior officials previously accused of incompetence.

Al Badri says parliament's decision to reject the appointees indicates the maturity of Somalia's democratic institutions.

“The parliament in this case has shown its credibility by turning down the cabinet appointees even before it was brought to parliament. This shows that if the administration does not cooperate with the parliament, endorsing the future government lists might prove more complicated in the future," says Al Badri.

The East African nation has taken steps toward order after years of lawlessness, but a political crisis developed late last year when President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud forced the resignation of then-Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed.

The political instability is threatening the country’s plan for elections in 2016. The international community remains committed to stabilizing Somalia - but United Nations and U.S. officials have demanded the country's leaders halt their chronic infighting, for the sake of Somalia's future.