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Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke ( , ) (born June 18, 1960) is a Somali diplomat and politician. He is the current Prime Minister of Somalia.

Biography

Sharmake is the son of the former second President and first Prime Minister of Somalia, Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, who was assassinated in 1969, and Ruqia Dahir Ali Boss, the daughter of a well-known Somali Islamic scholar from the Meheri clan.

He studied at Carleton Universitymarker in Ottawamarker, where he obtained degrees in political science and political economy. Although his family is based in Virginiamarker in the United Statesmarker, Shermarke holds both Somali and Canadian citizenship.

He has worked in a diplomatic capacity for the United Nations in Sri Lankamarker and Sierra Leonemarker, and served as a political advisor on the Darfur conflict in Sudanmarker. Before becoming Prime Minister, Sharmarke was Somalia's ambassador-designate to the United States.

Prime Minister

On the February 13, 2009, the current President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, nominated Sharmarke to become Prime Minister at a meeting in Djiboutimarker.Sharmarke's nomination was widely welcomed, with a spokesman for the moderate Islamic Courts movement describing him as an "honest" man who should bring about "positive changes."

Political analysts are also optimistic about the selection. It is seen as a successful attempt to shore up support for the Transitional Federal Government both among the diaspora and within the country. Sharmarke is considered someone who could potentially bridge the gap between the various groups currently competing for influence in Somalia, as he was based abroad and thus not tied to local politics. Sharmarke's appointment is also seen by some analysts as an attempt to secure the favor of the large Darod clan, whose Majeerteen branch both Sharmarke and the outgoing President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, are members of.

On February 14, lawmakers approved Sharmarke as Prime Minister with a vote of 414 in favour, 9 opposed and 2 not voting.

In his acceptance speech, Sharmarke pledged to encourage reconciliation and to create unity in Somalia. However, the Al-Shabaab Islamist insurgents who are currently waging war against the federal government, condemned his appointment, with a spokesman for the group saying that "an unlawful camel never gives birth to lawful ones."

On February 21, Radio Garowe reported that Prime Minister Sharmarke had selected a new Council of Ministers, reserving key posts for former opposition lawmakers. Before a meeting in Djiboutimarker attended by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and a host of other Somali politicians and international observers, Sharmarke appointed Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar, the Islamic Courts senior ground commander, as the Minister of Interior, and former parliament Speaker, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, as the new Minister of Finance. Sharmarke also appointed the scholar, Mohamed Abdi Gandhi, as Minister of Defense, and three women as Ministers of Health, Family Affairs, and Rural Development. The new Cabinet easily gained a parliamentary vote-of-confidence. Sharmarke and the rest of the federal government then relocated from Djibouti to Mogadishumarker.

References

  1. Slain Somali president's son named PM
  2. Sharmarke named Somalia’s new PM - ArabNews
  3. Somalia's new government dominated by former opposition members - Garowe Online



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