Somali President appoints close associate as Prime minister.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Thursday appointed a political newcomer to become prime minister, nearly two months after the country’s parliament voted out former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.

Mohamed Hussein Roble’s appointment came hours after the president and five regional leaders reached agreement on a revised election model after days of talks in Mogadishu and international pressure. The president, who in February signed historic legislation giving ordinary citizens the right to vote in parliamentary elections, conceded to having the indirect elections preferred by regional leaders.

New law allows Somalis to cast direct votes in presidential, parliamentary elections for first time

A statement from the president’s office said Roble was directed to form a new transitional government ahead of general elections in the Horn of Africa country.

The new agreement calls for election preparations to begin November 1. Planners would determine dates in 2021 for choosing a parliament, whose members then would select the president, as in 2016. Mohamed, widely known as Farmajo, is expected to seek a second four-year term; his current term ends February 7.

Roble is expected to appear within several days for a confirmation hearing before parliament, whose members’ four-year terms expire December 27. If approved, Roble would have 30 days to pick cabinet members.

Roble, 57, brings a fresh face to the country’s political scene. He is a graduate of Somali National University, where he studied civil engineering. Roble’s representatives told VOA that after Somalia’s civil war broke out in 1991, he fled to Sweden. He has worked for the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, in multiple locations including Somalia.

In a short statement posted on social media, Roble said he would work with all Somalis during the transition.

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