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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Somalis vie to be new president
Somalia's new MPs
Somalia's new MPs will choose a new president
Twenty-eight candidates have been approved to contest next week's elections to be Somalia's new leader.

They have each paid the $2,000 fee and members of a transitional parliament set up in neighbouring Kenya will choose between them in a secret ballot.

Somalia has been without a functioning central government since 1991, since when rival warlords have battled for control of territory.

Meanwhile, fighting has broken out in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

At least two people were killed and three injured, including a three-year-old boy as militiamen clashed with heavy machineguns and anti-aircraft missiles.

The BBC Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says the fighting began when the Islamic courts militia tried to remove a check-point erected by freelance gunmen at a key junction near the main Bakara market.

Front-runners

Many previous attempts to bring peace to Somalia have failed but some say that these talks will succeed because it is backed by all of Somalia's neighbours, and by the donor community.

Correspondents say that of the 28 candidates, three are the favourites:

  • Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, who led the previous transitional national government;
  • Abdullahi Yusuf, leader of the autonomous Somali region of Puntland;
  • Abdullahi Adow, a former ambassador to the US and the man who came second to Mr Salat in the last presidential vote.
Some 60 candidates had expressed an interest in running but many dropped out after the $2,000 fee was introduced.

These included the only female candidate.

The 10 October election is the culmination of a 21-month process, to set up a new government in Somalia.

All the major warlords are represented at the talks in Kenya.

Seats in the parliament were distributed between the rival clans and factions.

The only major absentee is the government of the self-declared republic of Somaliland.




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