NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Members of Somalia’s transitional parliament on Sunday elected former army officer Abdullahi Yusuf as interim president for the war-torn Horn of Africa nation, the parliament speaker said.

Yusuf won with 189 votes in a third round of voting, Shariif Hassan Sheikh Aden told the 275-member transitional parliament and regional foreign affairs ministers, who observed the vote.

Former Finance Minister Abdullahi Addow garnered 79 votes in the last round, which narrowed the race to two candidates after none of the original 28 won a majority, Aden said.

The vote – the final step in a peace plan to end a 13-year war – was held in Kenya because of a lack of security in Somalia, where the country is divided into fiefdoms controlled by warlords. Thousands of people have been killed in the war.

President-elect Yusuf will nominate Somalia’s prime minister, who then will name a Cabinet. The members of the transitional parliament have an unwritten agreement to fill key government and legislative posts along clan lines.

Yusuf is a member of one of Somalia’s four biggest clans, the Darod. He is expected to choose a prime minister from another big clan, the Hawiye, which controls Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

Somalia has had no government since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohammed Siad Barre and turned their guns on one other, dividing the country of about 7 million people.

In August, long-running peace talks in Kenya resulted in the formation of a transitional parliament. Aden was elected speaker Sept. 15.

Despite the broad participation in the peace process, many diplomats and activists point out that there has been little reconciliation among enemies, who now sit together in parliament and run against each other for government posts.

The new government will take over a country that has no civil service, no public property and no money.

European officials are working on a proposal behind the scenes to give the new government $17.5 million. Privately, some European officials acknowledge the aid is not enough.

The United Nations has estimated that at least $5 billion will be needed to rebuild Somalia in the long term.

AP-ES-10-10-04 1707EDT



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