Somali Parliament Holds Inaugural Session in Mogadishu
Somalia's new parliament held an inaugural session in Mogadishu on Thursday, parliament officials said, marking the first such assembly in the capital in almost a decade.
At least 175 members of the 245-seat parliament attended the session, which discussed the new government appointed to the strife-torn Horn of Africa nation by Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh.
Galaydh, who was nominated prime minister by Somali President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan on October 8, tabled before the House his new government of 25 cabinet ministers and 45 other deputy ministers.
Some members of parliament, who had earlier met at a north Mogadishu hotel, expressed dissatisfaction with Salat's behavior for swearing in the ministers and their assistants at his residence, without parliamentary approval.
The parliamentary session, which was heavily guarded by Salat-recruited policemen, loyalist clan and Islamic Court militias, was chaired by Speaker Abdallah Deerow Issak.
The session appointed a committee to vet the ministerial appointments and report back to parliament again on Saturday, parliamentary sources said.
The appointments of Salat, Galaydh and parliament are the outcome of a national reconciliation conference hosted and initiated by Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh.
The conference was held at the resort of Arta, 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Djibouti, from May 2 until the end of August.
Thursday's parliamentary session here was the first such encounter since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in January 1991.
The self-declared Republic of Somaliland in northwest Somalia has had its own parliament since 1991 after declaring itself independent from the rest of the country in May that year, while the neighboring regional autonomous state of Puntland has also had its own parliament since August 1998.
Leaders in Somaliland and Puntland, like the principal warlords in Mogadishu and the Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA) in southcentral Somalia, have refused to recognize Salat's government -- MOGADISHU (AFP)
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