Somali Gov't Extends Mandate for One Year
    2011-03-28 14:47:42     Xinhua       Web Editor: Guo
The Somali government has announced that it unanimously agreed to extend its mandate which expires in August for a year "to complete the unfinished tasks," a statement issued by the Somali premier's office said.

In an extraordinary meeting held on Sunday evening by the Somali Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi said the decision to extend the mandate was taken after assessing the current political and security situation in the country. "The Council decided to extend the mandate of all the constitutional institutions of the Transitional Federal Government for a period of one year," the statement said.

The Somali government also agreed to postpone presidential and legislative elections set for August until August 2012 in order to give more time to complete the unfinished tasks during the transitional period.

The government pledged to complete the formation of a national army, restoration of peace and security throughout the war ravaged east African country.

The extension of the government mandate comes after Somali parliament members controversially extended the mandate for another three years as the expiry of the current transitional period in less than five months.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and the Prime Minister both opposed the parliament's move and rejected a call by Speaker of the Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden to hold elections for the parliament leadership and the presidency.

Differences have lately been growing between top Somali leaders over how to deal with the looming end of the transitional period for the government and the parliament.

A number of previous political infighting has hampered the government's efforts to deal with the three-year long Islamist insurgents that have reduced the government into a few districts in the capital and in southern part of the country.

The Somali government forces backed by thousands of African Union peacekeeping troops have been launching a major offensive against Islamist rebels who lost key areas in the capital Mogadishu and south of the country. The operation marked rare but remarkable gains for the government.
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