Somali Parliament ousts Prime Minister

Somalia's former Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon speaking in Mogadishu on December 2, 2013.

Story highlights

  • Prime Minister, President had clashed over Cabinet picks
  • Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon served less than 14 months of four-year term
  • This is latest shake-up in country that has struggled for effective central governance

Somalia's Parliament ousted the country's Prime Minister in a vote of no confidence Monday after a dispute between him and the President over Cabinet picks.

The move against Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon is the latest government shake-up for a country that has struggled to achieve an effective central government since a dictator's overthrow two decades ago.

Shirdon, in office less than 14 months, lost the confidence vote 184-65, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari said. He said the current government will remain until a new prime minister takes office.

Somalia's constitution gives President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud a month to appoint a new prime minister, who would need to be confirmed by Parliament.

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Mohamud appointed Shirdon to the post in October 2012, just a month after lawmakers elected Mohamud to his office.

But relations between the two leaders soured when Shirdon, who was supposed to serve a four-year term, refused to put Mohamud's picks into the Cabinet, which was going to be reshuffled and expanded.

"Some members of the Cabinet who are looking for their own interest, and not the interest of the nation, are the ones behind" the no-confidence vote, Shirdon told reporters in his office on Monday.

He said before the vote that he would comply with whatever decision the Parliament made.

Mohamud said Monday that he recognized "the effort and the dedication of the outgoing Prime Minister and his Cabinet."

"I also congratulate the speaker and his deputies (for) their leadership of the Parliament's deliberation in this critical time of the Parliament's history," Mohamud said in a news release.

Shirdon is the fifth Somali prime minister removed from his post without finishing his term since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown 22 years ago.

When he accepted the position in 2012, Shirdon, an economist who used to run an import business in neighboring Kenya, told the Parliament that his government would do more to ensure the security of the country and to fight against terrorism and piracy.

Somalia plunged into chaos after Barre was overthrown in 1991. After his ouster, clan warlords and militants battled for control, sparking a civil war and nationwide mayhem.

Central governance has been shaky since then. One of the largest challenges is Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, which is fighting the government in hopes of turning Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state.