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SOMALIA: New head of state to be elected


Members of Somalia's new Transitional National Assembly (TNA) are scheduled to elect a new head of state by the end of the week heralding in a new era for the war-torn African nation.

Officials at the Somali peace conference in Arta, Djibouti, where the assembly is gathered, told IRIN on Wednesday that 245 members of the assembly were narrowing their choices down from 47 candidates.

Conference sources said that given the large field of candidates, the final choice for president would be announced on Friday, and not on Thursday as had been expected.

They said this was because legislators were likely to still be deliberating through the night on Thursday.

In remarks to journalists, the newly elected TNA speaker, Abdulrahman Deroow Issak, called on the international community to give its backing to the new transitional authority and "to join in the rebuilding of Somalia".

He made the remarks after being accorded an official protocol reception by President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti whose government has sponsored and financed the three-month Somali peace conference.

Newspapers in Djibouti said the government had given the new speaker an official car and provided him with security personnel.

Similar facilities would be accorded to other senior officials elected by the TNA, Djibouti newspapers said


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