Somalia’s regional leaders urge end to power struggle

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Somalia’s regional leaders on Friday called for the president and prime minister to end their damaging feud which has stoked deep concerns about the stability of the Horn of Africa nation.

The row escalated on Thursday when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is popularly known as Farmajo, suspended the executive powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

The two men have been at odds over top security appointments in a dispute that comes as Somalia struggles to hold repeatedly delayed elections and confront a violent extremist insurgency.

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Somalia’s state leaders called on the protagonists to stop “exchanging statements,” resolve their disagreements through mediation and respect the interim constitution.

“The presidents of the federal member states are concerned about the current conflict in Somali federal institutions which does not serve the public interest, leads to insecurity and political instability,” the presidents of Jubaland, Southwest, Galmudug, Hirshabele and Puntland said in statement.

They also urged electoral bodies to speed up the long-delayed polls.

Farmajo’s four-year mandate expired in February, but was extended by parliament in April, triggering deadly gun battles in Mogadishu, with some rivals viewing it as a flagrant power grab.

Roble cobbled together a new timetable for a vote, but the process has fallen behind, and the next phase is not due to start until October 1, when elections for the lower house of parliament are due to run until November 25.

Elections in Somalia follow a complex indirect model, whereby state legislatures and clan delegates pick lawmakers for the national parliament, who in turn choose the president.

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