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Somali president resigns but woes far from over
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20:16, December 29, 2008

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Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed announced his resignation on Monday, ending a long-time power struggle with his Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein which has almost brought the Somali transitional government to the brink of collapse. But analysts here say the political crisis and violence in the Horn of Africa country are far from over.

Yusuf made the announcement of resignation in the parliament based in the southern town of Baidoa after days of speculations following his meeting with U.S. Under Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer on Dec. 22.

Yusuf said "If I was unable to fulfill my duty I will resign."

"I said I will do everything in my power to make government work across the country. That did not happen either," Yusuf told the parliament.

"I asked the leaders to cooperate with me for the common good of the people. That also did not happened," he added.

"As I promised when you elected me on Oct. 14, 2004, I would stand off if I failed to fulfill my duty. I have decided to return the responsibility you gave me," he added.

Yusuf said he had handed over his letter of resignation to Speaker of parliament Sheik Aden Madoobe and the speaker would take the presidency in accordance with the transitional federal charter.

The two senior Somali leaders have been in deep disagreement over a variety of issues including the way the Somali national reconciliation is being handled.

The bicker between Yusuf and Hussein surfaced late in July after Hussein sacked the powerful major of Mogadishu who is a close ally of the president. The ties between the two leaders were deteriorating after Yusuf made the decision to sack the prime minister mid this month.

Yusuf sacked his Prime Minister Hussein on Dec. 14, accusing him of incompetence, embezzlement and mismanagement.

The Somali Parliament, one day after the sacking of the prime minister, voted to endorse Hussein and his government, overturning Yuruf's decision.

In a vote in Parliament, 143 out of the 170 lawmakers voted for the government, 20 rejected and 7 abstained.

"143 of the 170 parliamentarians present voted in favour of the prime minister and his government while 20 voted against and 7 abstained," Sheik Aden Madoobe, parliament speaker, said after the vote.

"So the prime Minister and the government can continue serving the nation and the president's decision is null and void," the speaker said.

Rejecting the vote of parliament, Yusuf named Mohamed Mohamoud Guled Gamadere as new prime minister to replace Hussein the following day.

Gamadere, a long-time close ally of President Yusuf, served in the government of the former Prime Minister Ali Mohamod Gedi, in which he held two different ministerial portfolios as minister of Public Works and Housing and Interior Minister.

But the newly-appointed prime minister announced his resignation Wednesday. He was quoted as saying that he made the decision after looking into the situation in the country.

Yusuf's moves to fire the prime minister and appoint a new prime minister also angered the Somali Parliament.

Somali lawmakers tabled a motion days ago, seeking to impeach the president who they have accused of "violating the national charter" and alienating some of Somalia's communities.

The two leaders also sharply differed on holding peace talks with Islamist opposition parties.

While Prime Minister Hussein was seeking to hold peace talks with Islamists, President Yusuf termed them as "terrorists", said Muhyadeen Dahir, a political researcher in Mogadishu.

The Somali Parliament fully endorsed the UN-mediated power sharing agreement struck in Djubouti between the transitional government and the opposition coalition, the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, early in the year.

"The resignation no double opens new chapter for Somali politics and may introduce new faces but I am not sure that will solve all the myriad of conflicts between numerous factions in Somalia," Dahir told Xinhua.

Violence and inter-factional fighting have continued in central Somalia between rival Islamist factions at a time when Ethiopia is preparing to withdraw its troops from Somalia by the end of the month.

"The resignations of the new prime minister and the president pave the way for the implementation of the Djibouti Agreement that promise the formation of a new leadership for Somalia but that alone will not end the violence in the country," said Isse Mire, apolitical commentator in Somalia.

"The political crisis and deadly violence in Somalia are far from over, " Mire said.

Source: Xinhua

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