Ex- Defence Minister Mursal Elected Speaker

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Former Defense Minister Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman was on Monday elected the new Speaker of the Lower House after voting went to a second round where he faced off with Ibrahim Isaac Yarow.

Mursal garnered 147 votes against Yarow´s 118 votes. 265 Mps had voted.

In the first round of the vote Mohamed Mursal had led with 83 votes followed by Ibrahim Yarow at 69, Abdiaziz Lafta-garaan 54 and Sharif Abdallah at 19.

Laftagaraan and Sharif Abdallah announced they had dropped out of the race before the second round.

Mursal addressed the Parliament and said he will respect all sides of political persuasion in the house.

Yarow asked Mursal to strive to unite the Parliament amid political divisions.

Mursal was born in Baidoa in the year 1957 and went to local schools before attaining a degree at a technical university in Yemen in 2014. He was appointed in charge of the Defense portfolio last November to replace Abdirashid Abdullahi who had earlier resigned.

Before his appointment Mursal had served as Energy and Water Minister in the government of prime minister Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke and later became Somalia’s Ambassador to Turkey.

Political analysts see Mursal as an ally  to the executive while Yarow´s backing came from the opposition Mps , South West President Sharif Hassan and regional state presidents .

Mursal lived entirely in Somalia throughout the civil war unlike the previous Speakers who have been from the diaspora.

The position fell vacant after Mohamed Osman Jawari resigned last month after a three week political tussle with the executive.