A former Defense Minister has been elected the new speaker of Somalia’s Lower House of Parliament, local media outlets have reported.
The new speaker is in the person of Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman, the Voice of America’s Harun Maruf confirmed in a tweet. He has also previously served as ambassador to Turkey.
Lawmakers converged on Monday to elect a new speaker following the long-drawn political crisis that led to the resignation of Mohamed Osman Jawari.
BREAKING: Former Somali Ambassador to Turkey and Ex-Defense Minister Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman (left) elected Speaker of Parliament with 147 votes, he defeats Ibrahim Isak Yarow (right) who got 118 votes; 265 MPs (out of 275) voted. pic.twitter.com/3jQYpNT6Mp— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) April 30, 2018
The voting process went through a number of rounds with aspirants dropping along the way. The speaker is an influential role in Somalia’s political landscape ranking closely behind the President and Prime Minister.
Confusion rocked the parliament for weeks when a political crisis divided the chamber between supporters of the erstwhile speaker on one hand and those of the Prime Minister, Ali Hassan Khaire.
Speaker Jawari at the time was accused by elected officials of abuse of power and obstruction of constitutional reform. He, however, survived no-confidence motions.
As a result of the crisis, there was often a heavy deployment of security personnel in and around the Assembly. Jawari called this move an “attempted coup,” but he eventually resigned according to him in the larger interest of the country.