Somali parliament extends term for 3 years

Somalia's parliament overwhelmingly voted on Thursday to extend its term for another three years — despite failing to pass any laws in the last six years.

Parliament's biggest achievement so far has been refurbishing the parliament building, said legislator Abdirashid Ali. He blamed the lack of progress on insecurity; the parliament is frequently mortared by Islamist insurgents.

The parliament has also passed a budget, says Information Minister Abdulkareem Jama. Journalists have been asking for a copy for weeks but have not been able to see it.

The 500 legislators receive $300 a month each from the United Nations. Thursday's vote was attended by 435 lawmakers and 421 of them voted for the extension.

The current government's mandate is due to run out in August but it is unclear what will replace it. Some politicians want it to be extended but the U.N. has vetoed the idea.

The new government has promised that officials will have to disclose their assets in an effort to curb Somalia's rampant corruption.

The weak U.N.-backed government controls only a few neighborhoods in the capital with the help of 8,000 African Union peacekeepers.

This is the 15th administration in 20 years of civil war.