Newly-appointed Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has won the confidence of the country’s legislative assembly, where he took the oath of office on Wednesday.
At least 218 lawmakers voted in favor of Sharmarke, while six abstained in Wednesday’s vote session, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari said. After winning the confidence vote, Sharmarke was sworn in before the assembly and in the presence of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud.
Under the Somali constitution, Sharmarke will have 30 days to form his government. Sharmarke’s government will succeed that of Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, from which parliament withdrew confidence in a December 6 vote.
Born in Somalia in 1969, Sharmarke is the son of former Somali President Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke. The younger Sharmarke graduated from Somali National University in 1984. In 2000, he received a Master’s Degree in economics and political science from Canada’s Carlton University. He currently carries dual Somali-Canadian citizenship.
In 2008, Sharmarke was appointed Somali ambassador to the U.S. He could not, however, carry out his diplomatic responsibilities because Washington did not recognize Somalia’s transitional government at the time. He was appointed prime minister in 2009, but had to submit his resignation one year later due to differences with then-President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
The same year, Sharmarke was appointed Somali ambassador to the U.S. – for the second time – after which he was welcomed by Washington, which had by that time recognized the national government.