Somali parliament urged to “move swiftly” to complete electoral process

The recently-elected Somali lawmakers are being urged by the UN chief to “move swiftly” to complete the electoral process.

About 283 Members of Parliament, or MPs, took an oath of office on Tuesday while interim speakers were appointed for both houses of the federal parliament.

The electoral process in the troubled Horn of Africa country, the first in four decades, has been described by the UN as a “big step forward.”

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

The inauguration of the new Federal Parliament of Somalia has been hailed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a “historic achievement”.

He urged the newly-appointed MPs to tackle urgent legislative priorities and establish a permanent Constitution.

Mr Ban also called on the authorities to quickly fill all remaining vacant seats in Parliament and ensure that “the seats reserved for women are filled by women.”

National and regional leaders recently decided to expand the number of seats in the Upper House of parliament beyond 54, as stipulated in the provisional constitution.

There are concerns that the number of seats in parliament reserved exclusively for women candidates is below the agreed level of 30 per cent.

Meanwhile, Somalia’s international partners have expressed “grave concern” over the integrity of the voting process.

The Secretary-General stressed the importance of addressing “any irregularity, abuse, or malpractice reported by the federal and state electoral bodies” to preserve the credibility of the process.

Source: United Nations Radio