World awaits Somalia's next big move

Sept. 7, 2012 at 11:00 AM
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MOGADISHU, Somalia, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The U.N. special envoy to Somalia called on the country's leaders to elect the most qualified official to take the position of president.

Augustine Mahiga, U.N. special envoy to Somalia, issued an open letter to Somali lawmakers ahead of next week's presidential election.

"My brothers and sisters, it is all up to you," he said. "You are the highest sovereign authority in the land. You are the custodians of the future which is now in your hands."

Somalia recently marked an end to its lingering political transition period by electing members of Parliament and drafting a new constitution.

Mahiga said the presidential election would mark an end to political transition and the beginning of a transformation in the war-torn country. There hasn't been a functioning central government in Somalia since the early 1990s.

"After two decades of civil war, a collapsed state and innumerable indignities to the proud Somali people, we are hours away from the election of a new president -- the event that will completely end the transitional period and move us towards a phase of political and socio-economic transformation," his letter read.

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