Somalia’s 10th Parliament was inaugurated recently in a ceremony that saw 283 members of the House take their oaths of office by placing their right hand on the Holy Quran. Forty-one of the Members of Parliament (MPs) will become senators in the Upper House while 242 will be members of the House of the People. The MPs were sworn in at the General Kahiye Police Academy in Mogadishu during a function officiated by the outgoing Speaker of the Federal Parliament of Somalia, Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari. Officials attending the ceremony included outgoing Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, who was elected to the Upper House as a senator, and outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte, who won a seat in the House of the People. Other guests invited to the function were members of the diplomatic corps, senior officials of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) led by the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Lydia Wanyoto, and the Chairman of the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT), Omar Mohamed Abdulle. Interim speakers were appointed for both houses of the federal parliament as the outgoing parliamentary speaker, Mohamed Osman Jawari, called the ceremony a milestone in the history of Somalia. He urged the MPs to discharge their duties in a respectable manner and noted that the future and success of the country depended on them. FIEIT Chairman Omar Mohamed Abdulle hailed the inauguration as a testimony to Somalia’s ability to hold elections and thanked all key stakeholders for the role they had played during the electoral process. He highlighted the increase in the number of women who will sit in the parliament and credited in part the efforts of the FIEIT and the rules established by the National Leadership Forum for this achievement. Many of the MPs sounded an enthusiastic note as they looked ahead to their four-year terms as lawmakers.
The UN welcomed the inauguration of the new Federal Parliament and warmly congratulated the people of Somalia on the historic achievement in their quest for universal suffrage by 2020.