Saadia Samatar Makes History as Somalia’s First Female Deputy Speaker

Saadia Yasin Haji Samatar was elected as the first deputy speaker of Somalia’s House of the People (Lower House of the parliament) on Thursday.

In a highly patriarchal Somali society, Samatar is the first woman to be elected to the top leadership position in parliament.

Samatar received 137 votes in the final round of voting, defeating Mr Mohamed Ali Omar alias Ananug, who received 107 votes.

Soon after Samatar’s victory was confirmed, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo released a statement from Villa Somalia, the Mogadishu State House, congratulating her on her success.

Farmaajo also issued a statement on Wednesday thanking Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nur alias Madobe, the new speaker of Somalia’s 11th parliament.

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Messages of congratulations also came from Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble’s office and a number of political personalities.

Batula Ahmed Gaballe, the chairperson of the powerful Somali Women Association, praised Ms Samatar’s election.

“The election of Ms Samatar to co-lead the Somali parliament is the first step towards greater female participation in decision-making at national level,” she said.

The legislature voted for the office of second deputy speaker later that evening.

Outgoing second deputy speaker Mahad Abdalla Awad received 91 votes, while Mr Abdullahi Omar Abshirow received 146 votes.

The Upper House of Parliament (Senate) elected its speaker and two deputy speakers on Tuesday, while the Lower House elected its speaker and two deputy speakers on Wednesday and Thursday.

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International supporters of Somalia applauded the election of the country’s parliamentary leadership in an unified statement.

After the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament elect their speakers and deputy speakers, the two Houses must hold a joint session to vote for the president in Somalia’s indirect elections.

Following the conclusion of the speaker election, the focus now switches to the presidential election, which will be held on an undetermined date.

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