UN envoy lauds election of new Somali President
www.chinaview.cn 2009-01-31 21:01:01   Print

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the moderate Islamist leader of the opposition coalition the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, seen here in 2006, wins the Somali presidency in a parliamentary vote in Djibouti early Saturday.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the moderate Islamist leader of the opposition coalition the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, seen here in 2006, wins the Somali presidency in a parliamentary vote in Djibouti early Saturday. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
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    By Daniel Ooko

    NAIROBI, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- United Nations top envoy for Somalia has hailed Somali lawmakers for election of the Horn of Africa nation's new president "in the open and transparent manner".

    In a statement issued in Nairobi on Saturday, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN Special Representative for Somalia, said he was pleased that the candidates had pledged to support a Government of National Unity based on inclusion, tolerance and political cooperation.

    "We are finally seeing progress from the hard work by all sides to create an inclusive Parliament," he said in a statement. "I would like to congratulate and encourage all the Parliamentarians to work for the good of the country."

    After a long night of voting in neighboring Djibouti, the members of Somalia's newly expanded Transitional Federal Parliament chose the chairman of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, as Somalia's new President.

    Eleven candidates stood in the first round in which Ahmed won the most votes but failed to win the necessary two thirds of the votes cast.

    The second round, between Ahmed and the son of former Somali President Mohammed Siad Barre, Maslah Mohamed Siad, was won by Ahmed with more than two thirds of the votes cast.

    Ould-Abdallah pointed out that during the first round of voting Ahmed and the Prime Minister, Nur Hassan Hussein, the two leading figures in the ongoing Djibouti process, had both received strong support from Parliamentarians.

    He praised the "open and transparent manner" in which the two rounds of voting were carried out.

    "I am also pleased that the new President is committed to policies based on close cooperation with IGAD member states, particularly Somalia's neighbors -- Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya as well as with the African Union," he said.

    "I understand they will work closely with all other international community members such as the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the European Union, the European Commission and the United Nations."

    Ould-Abdallah said he would do his best to ensure that the international community would support the new Government of National Unity, provided the government demonstrates its determination to promote a stable and tolerant Somalia.

    "The international community has already pledged to support this process and I will do my best to ensure that the commitments from donors and partners are honoured."

    Meanwhile, Ahmed has been sworn in as the new president of Somalia just months after his ARS signed a peace deal with the transitional government.

    The ceremony in neighboring Djibouti on Saturday came after Ahmed, who also led the Islamic Courts Union, won a run-off parliamentary vote.

    The new president's Islamic courts movement ruled Mogadishu and most of southern Somalia for six months before being ousted by the Ethiopian military at the end of 2006.

    "My government will bring an adequate plan to overcome the difficulties the nation is facing," Ahmed said in a brief inauguration speech.

    "I will deal with the humanitarian situation in the country and give priority to those who have been displaced by war."

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed newly elected President of Somalia

     MOGADISHU, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, a moderate Islamist leader, was elected president of Somalia by the country's enlarged parliament of on Saturday morning after night long voting in Djibouti City where the legislative has been meeting.  Full story

Editor: Han Jingjing
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