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Somali lawmakers vote to extend president’s term

Somalia’s Lower House of Parliament has voted to approve a bill to extend President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s term in office by two years.

The controversial special election bill was overwhelmingly approved by 149 members. It needs to be approved by the upper chamber before becoming law.

Mr Farmajo welcomed the passing of the bill in the lower chamber, adding that after two years the Somali people will finally be able to elect their own president.

But opposition candidates and some of the regional state leaders have rejected the resolution.

Former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre, who is now part of an opposition coalition, said the country is in crisis and urged the international community to urgently intervene.

Before the session began, Banaadir region police commander ordered all roads that lead to the parliamentary complex to be closed in a bid to stop lawmakers from attending the session.

He said his forces were against what he called a “term extension” for the president, whose mandate had expired on 8 February.

However, he was immediately fired.

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