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Archive for Saturday, January 31, 2009

Somali lawmakers elect president

January 31, 2009

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— Somalia’s parliament elected a moderate Islamist leader as the country’s new president early today, handing over the elusive task of stabilizing a country racked by violence and anarchy for nearly 20 years.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed was elected in neighboring Djibouti after the last president — a former soldier, rebel and warlord named Abdullahi Yusuf — resigned in December after failing to pacify the country during his four-years as president.

Ahmed was chairman of the Islamic Courts Union that ran Mogadishu for six months in 2006 before Ethiopian soldiers drove them from power. His election raises hopes that he will bring many of Somalia’s Islamic factions into a more inclusive government.

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