Fifteen years after the ousting of Somali President Muhammad Siad Barre, the country’s parliament convened on Saturday for the first time in Somalia, reports the Somali Net online news agency.
The United Nations has welcomed the first sitting of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) inside Somalia, which took place in Baidoa. “This is a very positive development we are witnessing here today,” said the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative Christian Balslev-Olesen. “It is a significant window of hope for peace and reconciliation that has not been seen by Somalis during the past 15 years, and we are privileged to be present and to support the process.”
Somalia’s President ‘Abdullah Yousuf urged the interim parliament on Saturday to “work hard and avert anarchy in Somalia.” The president appealed to the assembly members to reach a final deal to end the paralyzing government split.
Somali MPs say this meeting is the last hope to rejuvenate the faltering administration. “We want to urge our colleagues from the cabinet and the parliament to end their differences so we can save the people of Somalia from anarchy,” President Yousuf told reporters. “We want to ensure we come up with a lasting agreement here.”
The regime of Muhammad Siad Barre was ousted in January 1991. Four months later, the northern clans declared an independent Republic of Somaliland. To the south, an autonomous region by the name of Puntaland was self-declared in 1998.
In August 2000 a Transitional National Government (TNG) was established in the neighboring country Djibouti. The TNG expired in August 2003. Then, the new Somali President ‘Abdullah Yousuf Ahmad formed the current Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) in neighboring Kenya, consisting of 275 members. This Somali transitional parliament began its first session inside the country on Saturday, 19 months after its formation.