Somalia’s Upper House of parliament has elected its speaker on Sunday, the last major step toward holding the presidential election that has been delayed several times already.
The 54-member Upper House elected senator Abdi Hashi Abdullahi with 43 out of 51 votes. His opponent, Mustaf Mohamed Qodah, got only nine votes.
Former CEO of Goobjoog Media Abshir Mohamed Ahmed was elected as the first deputy speaker, and Mowlid Hussein Guhad became the second speaker of the upper house.
Speaking to VOA after the election, the first deputy speaker said he was delighted to be elected and vowed to serve the people.
“To get people’s confidence who trust you with their future is not an easy thing, but we will do what we can to serve them” Ahmed added.
The Lower House elected it speaker on January 11, and Sunday’s upper house leadership election paves the way for the long-awaited presidential election delayed four times amid allegation of vote-buying and intimidation.
Somalia’s current president and prime minister are among dozens of candidates vying for the post of president.
The presidential vote is set for Tuesday (January 24) but an electoral official who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity said the date will be pushed again possibly into next month.