Hundreds of Somali legislators were sworn in on Thursday, clearing the way for them to choose the country’s next leader, a process that has been delayed for months due to a power struggle between the current president and the prime minister.
Elections were set for a year ago but were postponed after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed attempted to extend his four-year term by two years, which parliament rejected.
On Thursday, 250 of the 275 lawmakers and 40 of the 54 senators took their oaths of office at the heavily protected African Union military installation in Mogadishu.
Threats and killings marred the process of selecting MPs, who are chosen by clan elders rather than by direct election, including the assassination of a young female candidate, Amina Mohamed, who was a prominent opponent of the regime.
A date for the election of a new president has yet to be announced, but the International Monetary Fund has stated that a new administration must be in place by May 17 if the Horn of Africa country is to continue getting financial support from the lender.
Somalia is wracked by a deadly insurgency headed by al Shabaab, an Islamist organization affiliated to al Qaeda, and tens of thousands are facing hunger as a result of years of failing rains and increasing food costs driven in part by the Russia-Ukraine war.