Ban welcomes inauguration of Somali parliament as watershed moment"

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the inauguration today of the New Federal Parliament of Somalia

News | 20 August 2012
Special Representative Augustine Mahiga greets a Somali official ahead of the inauguration ceremony in Mogadishu. UN Photo/Stuart Price

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the inauguration today of the New Federal Parliament of Somalia as a major milestone in the nation's peace and reconciliation process, according to his spokesperson.

“He congratulates the people of Somalia on reaching this watershed moment on their road to peace, stability and political transformation,” Mr. Ban's spokesperson added in a statement. “The Somali people have waited twenty years for peace to take root in their country. Now is the time to begin a new chapter in their history.”

According to the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), some 215 of the total number of 275 Members of Parliament were sworn in today at an inauguration ceremony in the capital, Mogadishu, passing the benchmark of 185 which allows for the new Federal Parliament to convene with a functioning majority.

The UN chief was joined in his welcoming of the inauguration by his Special Representative and head of UNPOS, Augustine Mahiga.

“This historic moment marks the long-awaited end of the transitional period in Somalia,” Mr. Mahiga said in news release. “The new MPs, selected after broad-based, grass-roots consultations and representing all of Somalia's clans, have been successfully screened against objective criteria and are now ready to start their important work.”

After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with the country's transitional federal institutions implementing a so-called Roadmap for the End of Transition, which spells out priority measures to be carried out before the current transitional governing arrangements end by the deadline of 20 August.

The measures included the drafting of a new Provisional Constitution, and the selection of the Members of Parliament by a group of 135 traditional Somali Elders, with the advice of a Technical Selection Committee.

A National Constituent Assembly overwhelmingly approved the Provisional Constitution on 1 August. The document was a key part of the Roadmap process, providing a legal framework governing the workings of the new Somali Federal Institutions after 20 August.