Somali MPs elect new speaker to pave way for polls

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The MPs, pictured here last week, voted overnight in the tight contest

Somalia’s members of parliament have elected Sheikh Adan Madobe as the speaker of the country’s lower house of parliament.

Mr Madobe’s election comes a day after the upper house re-elected its speaker.

The election of speakers is a crucial step towards the conclusion of the country’s long-drawn electoral process.

The new parliamentary leaders are expected to spearhead the process of electing the country’s next president and that process must be done by the end of May.

Mr Madobe, 66, previously held the speaker’s position for two years in 2007 during the transitional administration of the late President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.

He garnered 163 votes against his closest contender Hassan Abdinur’s 89 votes in a hotly contested election that ended in the early hours of Thursday.

He took the oath of office at the end of the election that was held in an air force hangar near the African Union peacekeeping mission base in the capital, Mogadishu.

The country had missed several deadlines to conclude elections, resulting in sanctions against MPs by the US.

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