The Somali parliament stripped the speaker position from a top lawmaker who was closely associated with the recently ousted Islamic movement, and the United States and the European Union said Wednesday's move could hurt reconciliation efforts in the restive country.
Diplomats said the fired speaker, Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden, was capable of pulling together moderate elements in Somalia's Islamic movement. Wednesday also saw the government's disarmament efforts receive a boost with three major warlords handing over vehicles and men.
Deputy Speaker Osman Ilmi Boqore announced the move against Aden in proceedings broadcast live on HornAfrik Radio. Lawmakers cited his public criticism of a proposed African peacekeeping mission that parliament had endorsed and his meetings with Islamic movement leaders without authority from parliament.
Boqore said only nine of the lawmakers present voted against the motion. Voting in favor were 183 lawmakers - 44 more than required - in the 275-member parliament