The Somali parliament overwhelmingly backed the government of Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein yesterday, one day after President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed announced his dismissal.
“One-hundred and forty-three MPs [members of parliament] recognized the existence of the government, 20 rejected it and seven abstained,” Speaker Aden Mohamed Nur said after counting the votes during a special parliament session in the town of Baidoa.
“Therefore the government of Nur Adde [Hassan Hussein] is legitimate,” he said.
On Sunday, Yusuf announced he was sacking the prime minister and the Cabinet because they had failed to bring security to the nation, but the Hussein challenged the move as unconstitutional.
The transitional federal charter says the president needs parliament’s approval to sack the prime minister.
Speaking to parliament before the vote, Hussein said: “It was difficult to work with the president, who disapproved of the peace process.”
“The president was interfering with the activities of the prime minister and parliament,” he said.
“It’s up to parliament to make a decision in order to save the transitional federal institutions and the rule of law,” he said.
Yusuf said yesterday that he would comply with parliament’s decision and gave no hint he would resign should parliament confirm Hussein in his job.
On Sunday, Hussein accused Yusuf of seeking to scuttle a months-old UN-sponsored reconciliation process with the main political opposition group, the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia.
The UN mediator of the talks warned that the latest row risked hindering ongoing reconciliation efforts and African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping also voiced concern.
Hussein, 70, was sworn in in November last year but has been at loggerheads with Yusuf in recent months, notably over ongoing efforts to strike a reconciliation agreement with the Islamist-led opposition.
Hussein replaced Ali Mohamed Gedi who was forced to resign after months of a bruising power struggle with Yusuf, a veteran warlord who has headed Somalia’s transitional administration since its inception in 2004.