Somalia Names New Prime Minister

Somalia’s president has named former economics professor Abdiweli Mohamed Ali as the country’s new prime minister.

Mr. Ali has been serving as acting prime minister following the resignation Sunday of his popular predecessor, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

Previously, the U.S.-educated appointee had served as Somalia’s minister for planning and international cooperation.

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed praised Mr. Ali on Thursday, saying he is the right man to help Somalia deal with its many problems.

The fragile transitional government, backed by the United Nations, has been plagued by political infighting. It also is battling the al-Qaida-linked insurgent group al-Shabab and rampant piracy.

A government statement says Mr. Ali “brings a breadth of experience to the job.” It cites Mr. Ali’s experience working with international organizations including the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.

He also worked as an economic professor in the United States, teaching at Niagara University in New York and George Mason University in Virginia.

Mr. Ali has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, a Master of Economics degree from Vanderbilt University and a doctorate in economics from George Mason University.

When the previous prime minister, Mr. Mohamed, resigned last week, he said he was leaving office to avert political collapse in his homeland.

A United Nations-backed deal earlier this month called for Mr. Mohamed to resign within a month to clear the way for the formation of a new government.

The so-called Kampala Accord, mediated by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, was meant to break the political deadlock between the president — a former Islamist rebel leader — and Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, who covets the top job. The deal was aimed at establishing a roadmap for national elections and a new constitution.

The two Somali rivals agreed June 9 to postpone their nation’s presidential election for one year and hold the vote by August 2012. They both are expected to seek the presidency when the poll takes place. voa

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