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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

SOMALIA: Interim gov't says it will continue in power

NAIROBI, 11 August 2003 (IRIN) - Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG), whose three-year mandate ends in two days' time, has said it will stay in place until free and fair elections are held to usher in new institutions.

TNG Information Minister Abdirahman Adan Ibrahim "Ibbi" told IRIN on Monday that the Somali constitution states there should be no vacuum in governance. "We will stay until a new president, government and parliament have been elected," he said.

His comments come after TNG President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan convened a session of parliament at the weekend in which votes of no-confidence were expressed in the TNG prime minister Hassan Abshir Farah and the speaker of parliament Abdallah Derow Isaak.

Ibbi expressed his opinion that they had been removed from office because they refused to take orders from the president and continued to state that they represented the TNG at the ongoing peace talks in Nairobi.

Abdiqassim walked out of the Nairobi talks about 10 days ago, unhappy over the apparent anti-Islamic direction of the conference - which is sponsored by the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) - and accusing it of leading towards the "dismemberment" of Somalia.

"If the conference in Nairobi doesn't succeed, the TNG has to hold a national conference inside Somalia," Ibbi told IRIN. "We want Nairobi to succeed, but they have to address our concerns otherwise we will not come back."

But Ahmed Isse Awad, the spokesman for Hassan Abshir, said the dismissals of the prime minister and speaker were "not serious" and the two men were continuing in their positions.

"According to the TNG charter, this action is illegitimate," he told IRIN on Monday. "If the prime minister is dismissed, the whole government is dismissed. They cannot say they are continuing as the TNG."

He also said the dismissals did not count because there was no quorum in parliament to take such a decision.

"Two thirds of the parliament have to approve the decision," he said, "and of 245 MPs, 154 of them are in Nairobi."

"This is typical of Somali political culture," he added. "No leader wants to relinquish power, and this goes for Abdiqassim too. I don't think he will succeed."


Themes: (IRIN) Conflict



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