Somali PM Sharmarke resigns as insurgency rages

Somalia’s Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke said he had resigned on Tuesday, after months of intense pressure to quit the United Nations-backed interim government.

The government has failed to end a three-year insurgency by hardline Islamists who now control much of the capital and huge chunks of south and central Somalia.

“After considering the political crisis in the government and increasing insecurity in Somalia, I have decided to resign from my post as prime minister,” Sharmarke told reporters, flanked by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

Ahmed said he welcomed Sharmarke’s decision to quit and said he would nominate a new prime minister as soon as possible.

Some analysts say that a beleaguered Ahmed has been looking for a scapegoat as he tries to reassert his authority over a brittle administration and disillusioned nation.

Parliament had been due to hold a vote of confidence on Sharmarke’s leadership on Saturday but there were insufficient lawmakers to form a quorum and the session was postponed. – Reuters

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