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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Somalia: New Government Dominated By Former Opposition Members

21 February 2009 | Garoweonline

DJIBOUTI - Somalia's new Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake has appointed a Council of Ministers, with key posts given to former opposition politicians, Radio Garowe reports.

The Prime Minister's new Cabinet consists of 36 ministers, which was distributed among Somali clans used the 4.5 power-sharing formula.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was present alongside a host of Somali MPs and international observers as Prime Minister Sharmake named members of his bloated Cabinet.

Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar, the Islamic Courts senior ground commander during the two-year insurgency, was appointed as the Minister of Interior, while ex-parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan became the new Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Security, Mr. Omar Hashi, was a key member of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), which united with the Transitional Federal Government to form the country's first-ever Government of National Unity.

The new Minister of Defense, Prof. Mohamed Abdi Gandhi, was described as more of an educator than a military man.

The long Cabinet list includes three women, who became the Ministers of: Health, Family Affairs, and Rural Development.

Prime Minister Sharmake's new Cabinet is scheduled to face a parliamentary vote-of-confidence before assuming the huge challenge ahead of restoring order and re-establishing governance in Somalia after 18 years of armed conflict.

Somalia's leaders, including the President, PM, the new Cabinet and the 550-seat parliament, are all currently based in the neighbouring Republic of Djibouti and are expected to fly to the Somali capital Mogadishu soon.

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