Somalia’s Upper House elects speaker and deputy speakers
Members of Somalia’s Upper House today elected Abdi Hashi Abdullahi as their new speaker during a voting exercise held in the Somali capital.
The veteran politician defeated his rival Mustaf Mohamed Qodah by receiving 43 of the 52 ballots cast in the first round of voting.
The Upper House members also elected two deputy speakers who will help Mr. Abdullahi in conducting the chamber’s business.
In his victory speech, the new Upper House speaker thanked his colleagues for electing him and promised the Somali people that he will live up to their expectations as the country prepares to elect the next president.
“I pray to God as I assume the responsibility of being the speaker of the Upper House that he ushers in his blessings and saves our country and the Somali people from the severe drought that hit our country hard. I also ask God to bestow peace and prosperity to the Somali people,” he said.
The voting for the two deputy speaker positions in the Upper House was much more closely fought. Abshir Mohamed Ahmed Bukhaari was elected first deputy speaker when he defeated his challenger Abdi Ahmed Dhuhuloow with 30 of the 52 votes cast. Mowlid Hussein Guhaad was elected second deputy speaker over Abdikaafi Maalim Hassan by a margin of only four votes.
Mr. Bukhaari said the establishment of a committee to oversee the upcoming presidential election would top the agenda for the two houses of parliament.
“Today we shoulder huge responsibilities. Most of all, I am hoping to execute my responsibility as deputy speaker with passion. I am hoping to be a senator who represents the Somali people and perform my duties diligently,” noted the first deputy speaker.
The second deputy speaker promised to work closely with his colleagues in the federal parliament for the betterment of the Somali people.
“I promise to fulfil my duties diligently and honor the confidence that the honorable members have accorded me. I will be the most flexible, most gentle and hardworking speaker,” said Mr. Guhaad.
United Nations staff members and the Deputy Special Representative for the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia Lydia Wanyoto witnessed the election, and Ms. Wanyoto congratulated the senators for holding a peaceful and democratic exercise.
“We hope in the coming week they are going to form a presidential election committee that will be able to announce the presidential (election) calendar, and that will help us conclude the electoral process. Then we embark on other areas of our mandate as AMISOM,” she said.
Today’s elections of the Upper House leadership drew the participation of 16 candidates, including two female members. Legislators described the exercise as an important milestone on the way to the upcoming presidential election, which is expected to take place in the coming days.