Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke
Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke (born June 18, 1960) is a Somali
Somali people
Somalis are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family...

 diplomat and politician. He is the former Prime Minister of Somalia
Prime Minister of Somalia
This page contains a list of the Prime Ministers of Somalia.-Prime Ministers of Somalia :-Affiliations:*SYL - Somali Youth League*SNL - Somali National League...



Sharmake is the son of the former second President and first Prime Minister of Somalia, Abdirashid Ali Shermarke
Abdirashid Ali Shermarke
Abdirashid Ali Shermarke was Prime Minister of Somalia from July 12, 1960 to June 14, 1964, and President of Somalia from June 10, 1967 until his assassination on October 15, 1969...

, who was assassinated in 1969, and Ruqia Dahir Ali Boss, the daughter of a well-known Somali Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic scholar from the Meheri
Mahri, Mehri or Mahra , also known as Arab Salah , is one of the largest tribes inhabiting the Al Mahrah Governorate in Yemen, Somalia, and other Arabian countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait....


He studied at Carleton University
Carleton University
Carleton University is a comprehensive university located in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The enabling legislation is The Carleton University Act, 1952, S.O. 1952. Founded as a small college in 1942, Carleton now offers over 65 programs in a diverse range of disciplines. Carleton has...

 in Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, where he obtained degrees in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 and political economy
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

. Although his family is based in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Shermarke holds both Somali and Canadian citizenship
Canadian nationality law
Canadian citizenship is typically obtained by birth in Canada, birth abroad when at least one parent is a Canadian citizen and was born or naturalized in Canada, or by adoption abroad by at least one Canadian citizen. It can also be granted to a permanent resident who lives in Canada for three out...


He has worked in a diplomatic capacity for the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

, and served as a political advisor on the Darfur conflict
War in Darfur
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

 in Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

. Before becoming Prime Minister, Sharmarke was Somalia's ambassador-designate to the United States.


On the February 13, 2009, the current President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, nominated Sharmarke to become Prime Minister at a meeting in Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

Sharmarke's nomination was widely welcomed, with a spokesman for the moderate Islamic Courts movement describing him as an "honest" man who should bring about "positive changes."

Political analysts are also optimistic about the selection. It is seen as a successful attempt to shore up support for the Transitional Federal Government
Transitional Federal Government
The Transitional Federal Government is the current internationally recognized government of the Republic of Somalia. It was established as one of the Transitional Federal Institutions of government as defined in the Transitional Federal Charter adopted in November 2004 by the Transitional...

 both among the diaspora
Somali diaspora
The Somali diaspora refers to expatriate Somalis who reside in areas of the world that have traditionally not been inhabited by their ethnic group...

 and within the country. Sharmarke is considered someone who could potentially bridge the gap between the various groups currently competing for influence in Somalia, as he was based abroad and thus not tied to local politics. Sharmarke's appointment is also seen by some analysts as an attempt to secure the favor of the large Darod
The Darod is a Somali clan. The father of this clan is named Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti, but is more commonly known as Darod. In the Somali language, the word Daarood means "an enclosed compound," a conflation of the two words daar and ood .The Darod population in Somalia lives principally...

 clan, whose Majeerteen
The Majeerteen is a Somali clan. Its members form a part of the Harti confederation of Darod sub-clans, and primarily inhabit the Puntland region in northeastern Somalia....

 branch both Sharmarke and the outgoing President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed
Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed
Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed is a veteran Somali politician. He is one of the founders of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front, as well as the Puntland State of Somalia, where he served as the autonomous region's first President...

, are members of.

On February 14, lawmakers approved Sharmarke as Prime Minister with a vote of 414 in favour, 9 opposed and 2 not voting.

In his acceptance speech, Sharmarke pledged to encourage reconciliation and to create unity in Somalia. However, the Al-Shabaab
Al-Shabaab (Somalia)
Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen , more commonly known as al-Shabaab , is a terrorist group of militants fighting to overthrow the government of Somalia. As of 2011, the group controls large swathes of the southern parts of Somalia, where it is said to have imposed its own strict form of Sharia law...

 Islamist insurgents who are currently waging war against the federal government, condemned his appointment, with a spokesman for the group saying that "an unlawful camel never gives birth to lawful ones."

On February 21, Radio Garowe
Radio Garowe
Radio Garowe is a community radio station based in the city of Garowe in Puntland, a self-governing region in northern Somalia. Established in 2004, Radio Garowe broadcasts daily on 89.8 FM.-Sources:* -* - Sydney Morning Herald...

 reported that Prime Minister Sharmarke had selected a new Council of Ministers, reserving key posts for former opposition lawmakers. Before a meeting in Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

 attended by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and a host of other Somali politicians and international observers, Sharmarke appointed Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar, the Islamic Courts senior ground commander, as the Minister of Interior, and former parliament Speaker, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, as the new Minister of Finance. Sharmarke also appointed the scholar, Mohamed Abdi Gandhi, as Minister of Defense, and three women as Ministers of Health, Family Affairs, and Rural Development. The new Cabinet easily gained a parliamentary vote-of-confidence. Sharmarke and the rest of the federal government then relocated from Djibouti to Mogadishu
Mogadishu , popularly known as Xamar, is the largest city in Somalia and the nation's capital. Located in the coastal Benadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for centuries....



In April and May of 2010, a rift developed between Prime Minister Sharmarke and then Speaker of Parliament, Adan Mohamed Nuur Madobe
Adan Mohamed Nuur Madobe
Adan Mohamed Nuur Madobe is a Somali politician and a former Speaker of Parliament of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. Following the resignation of Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as President of Somalia in December 2008, he became interim president. Like many Somali politicians, he is a...

, which culminated in the Speaker's resignation after parliament later voted to remove him from office. Despite Madobe agreeing to relieve himself of his duties as Speaker, the incumbent President Sharif announced shortly afterwards his dismissal of Prime Minister Sharmarke and his intention of forming a new government. This move was quickly welcomed by the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah is a Mauritanian diplomat and former senior United Nations official.-Background:Ould-Abdallah graduated from secondary school in Dakar, Senegal. He studied economics at the University of Grenoble and the University of Paris and political science at the Sorbonne...

, a close associate and supporter of Sharif. Ould-Abdallah himself has recently come under fire for his reportedly disruptive role in the continuing conflict in southern Somalia, including meddling in local politics and attempting to advance foreign agendas.

In response, Prime Minister Sharmarke told the press that Sharif did not have the authority to dismiss him, and stated that he would remain in office until parliament passes a vote of no confidence
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

. Sharmarke added that he "met the president and informed him that I wouldn't submit a resignation because his decision is not supported by the transitional charter
Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali Republic
The Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali Republic, or TFC is the principle organizing document of the Somali Republic, written and approved in February 2004 in Nairobi, Kenya...

", and that “the government is formed in accordance with the constitution and the national charter... Articles 44 and 51 of the constitution say that the government can only be dissolved through a vote of no confidence from the parliament. So no parliament has casted the vote against the government.”

On May 18, a top official with the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 urged the federal leaders to settle their differences and unite to resolve the ongoing conflict. Supporters of Prime Minister Sharmarke were also reported to have gathered in the north-central Mudug
Mudug is an administrative region in north-central Somalia. Bordered by the Ogaden, the Somalian regions of Nugaal and Galguduud, and the Indian Ocean, its capital is the city of Galkacyo.-Districts:...

 region of Somalia to protest in his defense.

On May 20, President Sharif reversed his decision to sack Prime Minister Sharmarke. The change of heart came after consulting with lawyers, who advised Sharif that the dismissal was indeed unconstitutional. Analysts have also stated that the move has severely undermined Sharif's credibility, as well as that of the U.N. representative, Ould-Abdallah, who had backed him.

On May 26th, following another disagreement with Prime Minister Sharmarke, incumbent President Sharif again announced his unilateral plan to appoint a new Premier. Associates of Sharif's also reportedly attempted to persuade Sharmarke to resign, but the Premier again refused to step down and vowed instead to remain in office until his tenure constitutionally expires. Abdirahman Mohamud Farole
Abdirahman Mohamud Farole
Abdirahman Mohamud Farole is a Somali politician. He is the fourth and current President of Puntland.-Biography:Farole was born in the qandala region of Somalia in 1945. He first pursued his post-secondary education locally, earning a Diploma of Public Health in 1964 from the Scuola Professionale...

, the incumbent President of Somalia's autonomous Puntland
Puntland , officially the Puntland State of Somalia , is a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garowe in the Nugaal province. Its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998....

 region in the northeast, attempted to help settle the dispute, warning that if not resolved amicably, the rift could result in the ultimate collapse of the Transitional Federal Government.

In September 2010, disagreements again arose between Prime Minister Sharmarke and President Sharif, this time over the nation's draft constitution, an initiative supported by the United Nations, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and the United States. Sharmarke reportedly wanted the document put before parliament and civil society members, while the president wanted it to be put to a referendum. On September 14, it was reported that the Premier had convened with MPs and ministers at the presidential residence to discuss the issue, where Sharmarke indicated that he would welcome a resolution to the dispute but would not step down. In a parliamentary meeting the following day, Sharif requested "changes" to the interim government; a motion calling for a vote of no confidence in the Premier was then put forward. However, on September 18, the new Speaker of the Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan reportedly called off a parliamentary session when the vote of confidence was expected to take place.

In response to the rift, representatives from the United Nations, the African Union and IGAD
Intergovernmental Authority on Development
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development is an eight-country regional development organization in East Africa. Its headquarters are located in Djibouti City....

, who had already tried to serve as mediators, released a joint statement warning that the dispute is unhelpful and self-defeating. Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamud Farole in an interview likewise urged the federal government's leaders to set aside their differences for the sake of the country. Farole added that the "government [TFG] has a short time in office remaining and it should not be changed. This is also the position of countries who are interested in Somali affairs".

Critics have also accused President Sharif of attempting to force Prime Minister Sharmarke out of office so as to remain in power beyond his term's expiry in August 2011. Doing so could terminate the draft constitution, which in turn might extend the president's tenure.


On September 21, 2010, in a press conference attended by members of Parliament and the Cabinet, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke announced his resignation as Prime Minister of Somalia. Sharmarke indicated that the infighting between himself and incumbent President Sharif Ahmed had become a "security vulnerability" and that he had opted instead to "save the nation" by voluntarily stepping down.

Sharmarke was succeeded as Prime Minister by Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo
Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed "Farmajo" is a Somali diplomat and politician. He is the former Prime Minister of Somalia.-Personal life:...

, who in turn took over from the caretaker Premier Abdiwahid Elmi Gonjeh
Abdiwahid Elmi Gonjeh
Abdiwahid Elmi Gonjeh is a Somali politician. From September through October 2010, he was the acting Prime Minister of Somalia, a post he inherited from Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke.-References:...

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