[dehai-news] (GO) Somalia's Islamist president appoints Western-educated PM

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From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (eritrea.lave@comhem.se)
Date: Sat Feb 14 2009 - 06:11:05 EST

Somalia's Islamist president appoints Western-educated PM

13 Feb 13, 2009 - 10:44:13 PM
DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti Feb 13 (Garowe Online) - Somalia's newly elected
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed appointed a new Prime Minister for the
war-torn country Friday, carefully picking a Western-educated politician
whose family name resonates across Somali society, Radio Garowe reports.
Mr. Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake becomes the Prime Minister of Somalia's
first UN-endorsed 'unity government,' which was created when the
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) merged with the Alliance for the
Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) to save the country after Ethiopian
troops pulled out last month.
While Sheikh Sharif hails from the Hawiye clan, Prime Minister-elect
Sharmake is a Darod clansman, giving the national leadership a clan
balance that is fundamental in Somali politics.
The new Prime Minister, if approved by parliament, inherits a Horn of
Africa country that has been teetering on the edge since 1991, when Gen.
Barre's 21-year military reign ended in an explosion of violence that
began the enduring civil war.
Gen. Barre came to power through a bloodless coup on October 21, 1969,
six days after democratically elected President Abdirashid Ali Sharmake
was assassinated by a lone gunman while touring northern Somalia.
Somalia's expanded parliament is widely expected to approve Mr. Sharmake
as the Prime Minister who will establish a broad-based 'unity
government' to lead the country for the next two years.
Many challenges face Somalia's new leaders - Sheikh Sharif and Sharmake
- both of whom are in their mid-40s and represent two powerful
sub-cultures in Somali society: the Islamist community and the Diaspora,
Finding a new home for the 550-seat expanded parliament will be
paramount, since Mogadishu remains unsafe and Baidoa recently fell under
the control of Islamist hardliners, who have vowed to wage war against
the new government.
The creation of a 10,000-strong police force, drawn up from TFG and ARS
recruits, is already underway as the new government seeks to bolster is
security capacity.
The government's main security threat is posed by al Shabaab, Islamist
guerrillas who control key towns in southern Somalia, including Baidoa
and the strategic port of Kismayo.
But analysts say the new government is a break from warlord politics
that characterized Somali national politics since the early 1990s,
giving the new government with young leaders a unique opportunity to
gain public confidence.
Source: Garowe Online


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