Somalia to swear in new parliament.

Somalia is moving one step closer to a new government, as 225 members of the country’s committee-selected parliament are being sworn in.

The committee tasked with approving parliamentarians began swearing in 225 of the parliamentarians on Monday afternoon. The parliament will eventually have 275 members. Only then will it be able to hold crucial votes for speaker and president by secret ballot, Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri reported from Mogadishu.

The prospective members of the new parliament were gathered ahead of the swearing-in, with security for the ceremony being provided by African Union forces, she reported. Security has been tightened across the capital, with police and military troops patrolling the streets.

In-depth coverage of the regional political crisis

Hussein Arab Isse, current defence minister and deputy prime minister, said that the delays finalising the future parliamentarians had been caused by the thorough vetting process.

This was to avoid the scandals of corruption and nepotism that had discredited the previous government, he said.

“Most people that are coming into the parliament are highly educated and highly motivated,” said Isse, who was among those being sworn in on Monday.

Future president

About 24 candidates are running to become Somalia’s first post-transition president who, once elected sometime in the near future, will then choose a prime minister.

Many of the candidates for president – including current President Sharif Ahmed, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and the parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden – already serve in a government that has been tainted by corruption allegations. Ahmed denied the allegations in an interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday.

The UN and other international partners helping the political process said on Sunday that Somalia faces an unprecedented opportunity for greater peace and stability.

“The conclusion of the Transition should mark the beginning of more representative government in Somalia,” a statement from international partners, including the US and EU, said. `

“Whilst parliament remains a selected rather than elected body, it is essential that it cuts its ties with the past of self-interest and warlordism, and is populated by a new generation of Somali politicians, including the proper representation of Somali women.”

Decades of chaos 

The Horn of Africa nation has lacked a stable central government since the 1991 overthrow of dictator Siad Barre in 1991, which unleashed a civil war and two decades of chaos.

While the government until recently controlled only a few blocks of Mogadishu, African Union and other troops have since made key territorial gains in their fight against al-Shabab fighters.

With better security, members of the Somali diaspora have returned to invest in their battered homeland, and many now hope that a new government will help the war-torn country stabilise and recover. READ MORE ABOUT THIS ARTICLE SOURCE: ALJAZEERA

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