Lawmakers Rebuke Somalia Prime Minister

Abdi Farah Shirdon will step down just after a year in power

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Somalia's newly appointed Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon Saidlooks on October 06, 2012, in Mogadishu.

Lawmakers ousted Somalia’s prime minister in a no-confidence vote Monday, raising concerns over the internationally-supported government’s efforts to fend off Islamic militants and hold together the fractured nation.

Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon lost with 184 out of 249 members of parliament voting in favor of his removal, according to speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari.

Shirdon has only been in power for just over a year, and was brought to a confidence vote after he refused President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s call for his resignation. He left the building before the vote and told reporters he was refused a chance to defend himself, AFP reports.

“They refused to let me talk… and that is unacceptable, even the accused has the right to defend himself,” Shirdon told reporters just before the vote.

Shirdon’s government came to power in August 2012 and was the first to be internationally recognized since the collapse of the military regime in 1991, which threw the nation into a chaotic internal conflict. Shirdon will remain in power until a new prime minister and cabinet is nominated, Jawari said. Political divisions may hamper the government’s efforts to bring peace to Somalia and contain the Al-Qaeda-inspired Shabab rebels, who have become an international terrorism threat. In September, Shebab rebels attacked Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, which left 72 dead and more than 200 injured.