Somalia: Puntland Parliament approves new Cabinet
Jan 28, 2009 - 8:10:46 AM

GAROWE, Somalia Jan 28 (Garowe Online) - The parliament in Somalia's Puntland region overwhelmingly approved an expanded Council of Ministers appointed by new President Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed "Farole," Radio Garowe reports.

Dr. Farole addressed Puntland lawmakers Wednesday in the administrative capital, Garowe, explaining why he expanded the Cabinet and the government's future plans.

Puntland leaders
"Some people say the Cabinet is huge, others note it is the first time they [clan] have ever been appointed," Puntland's new president said, while referring to both arguments as reasonable.

He indicated that expanding the Council of Ministers from 15 to 18 members will not cost the Puntland government a lot more money, citing financial inconsistencies inherited from the previous administration.

President Farole also called on Puntland MPs to discard the old constitution, which demanded that every member of the Cabinet be ratified on a one-by-one basis, referring to that system as "unknown in the rest of the world."

He requested that the government's political program be approved, instead.

There were a total of 57 MPs out of the 66-seat parliament present, with 54 MPs approving the new Cabinet and three lawmakers voting no.

Parliament Speaker Abdirashid Mohamed Hersi said the Cabinet will be fully ratified when the Farole administration presents a budget within three months.

Dr. Farole's expanded Cabinet was approved overwhelmingly by the majority of Puntland MPs, giving the new administration a boost as it tries to restructure governance, restore security and put the economic system in order.

Meanwhile, the remaining number of Cabinet ministers formally took the oath of office in Garowe, including new Finance Minister Farah Ali Jama, who flew in from Australia.

New ministers were named for the Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation, as well as the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Both ministries were originally given to ex-presidential candidates, who declined the offer and were replaced.

A new minister was appointed for the Ministry of Education, while the Ministry of Petroleum was completely ignored.

Dr. Farole campaigned on a platform of reform, promising to improve security and economic conditions, as well as fight against corruption and "illegal" oil deals signed by ex-Puntland President Mohamud "Adde" Muse.

Source: Garowe Online