MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia’s president nominated a former government chief, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, on Wednesday to become prime minister again, hoping to end a period of political turmoil during which two men have been pushed out of the job in less than a year.
Parliament voted the last premier, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, out of office earlier this month. Both he and his predecessor fell out with the president over the make-up of their cabinets.
Western donors, who have committed billions of dollars to help rebuild Somalia after two decades of conflict, worry that the turmoil could threaten Somalia’s fragile recovery and weaken its fight against Islamist rebels al Shabaab.
Parliament must now vote on whether to accept Sharmarke, 54, who is currently Somalia’s ambassador to the United States. It was not immediately clear when a vote would happen.
Sharmarke quit as prime minister in 2010, paying the price for the government’s failure to counter a raging Islamist insurgency.
“I will soon name an inclusive cabinet of ministers. I ask legislators and government officials to work with me,” Sharmarke told reporters in Mogadishu.
Sharmarke, who studied in Canada, is the son of former president Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, who was assassinated in 1969 before a military coup and is remembered with affection by many Somalis.
Al Shabaab has been driven out of major strongholds in an offensive this year by African and Somali troops, but it continues to stage deadly hit-and-run attacks.
On Monday, the al Qaeda-linked group attacked a military base in southern Somalia, killing at least 10 soldiers and burning two military vehicles, officials said.
Additional reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Robin Pomeroy