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Somalia has new Parliament but no presidential vote

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s chief justice swore in 215 new members of Parliament on Monday, an accomplishment that fell far short of UN hopes that the Horn of Africa nation would seat a full 275-member Parliament that would vote in a new president.

Monday — the last day of eight years of Somalia’s UN-backed Transitional Federal Government — was the day by which the UN repeatedly said a new president would be in place. But political bickering, violent threats, and seat-buying schemes delayed progress, guaranteeing the day would come and go with no new leader in place.

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Somalia has seen much progress over the last year. Al Shabab militants were forced out of Mogadishu in August 2011, allowing businesses to thrive and the arts and sports to return.

However, Mogadishu politics remains an ugly business, as it did in 1991, when the country’s last legitimate president was ousted and the country spiraled into bloody chaos.

The International Crisis Group said the current political process has been as undemocratic as the Transitional Federal Government structure it seeks to replace, ‘‘with unprecedented levels of political interference, corruption, and intimidation.’’

Somali elders were tasked with naming a Parliament, because no election could be held given the state of security around the country. A technical committee disqualified several nominees. ‘‘Some elders allegedly nominated uneducated and objectionable individuals, some sold seats to highest bidders, and others even nominated their own family members,’’ the International Crisis Group said.

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