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Somalia's new leader to be named soon
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Somalia's caretaker President Sheik Aden Madoobe, who is also the speaker of parliament, on Thursday pledged to organize the selection of a president within the thirty-day deadline set by the transitional federal charter.

Madoobe, who took over the presidency after Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed resigned as president on Monday, spoke in the Parliament in the southern town of Baidoa for the first time as the country's caretaker President, telling lawmakers that a committee will be set up to organize the selection of a new president "as soon as possible".

"I will work to uphold the national charter and we will form a committee to organize the selection of the president within the thirty-day duration stipulated by our charter," Madoobe told lawmakers.

Former President Yusuf resigned to culminate worsening political disagreement with Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein after international pressure on him mounted.

Madoobe in his address to the parliament appealed to the United Nations to send peacekeepers to Somalia to replace Ethiopian troops who will withdraw from the country within the first week of January.

A UN-sponsored power sharing agreement between the Somali transitional government and a key opposition faction stipulates the expansion of the current parliament to include opposition members and the election of new leadership for the war-torn Horn of Africa country early this year.

The caretaker President, who also chaired the parliament session, urged parliamentarians who were absent from Baidoa, the seat of the legislature body, to return to the town within seven days "in order to participate in the selection of a president for the country".

According to the transitional federal charter, two-thirds of the parliament members is required for the election of a president.

He warned the lawmakers who were not in attendance that "they will face replacement if they failed to return", saying they should tend their resignation if they are not ready to serve their country so that a replacement will be nominated by their clans.

Somali parliamentarians have been nominated by their respective clan elders and factional leaders during the formation of the current legislative assembly in the 2004 national reconciliation conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

Several lawmakers are currently outside the country while others have left for other areas in Somalia, including nearly twenty-five pro-Yusuf members of parliament who flew to Galkacyo a day before Yusuf resigned, citing "insecurity and harassment" for their departure.

Madoobe promised that security will be strengthened in Baidoa where a lawmaker was killed by unknown gunmen as attacks on Somali government forces and their Ethiopian allies have recently been steadily increasing.

(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2009)

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