Somalia swears in new prime minister - officials

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BAIDOA, Somalia, Nov 24 (Reuters) Somalia's parliament voted to endorse Nur Hassan Hussein as prime minister today, officials said, in a move many hope will boost the interim government as it fights insurgents.

Hussein, a career public servant, was immediately sworn in as the new premier after 211 out of 212 legislators voted for him in Baidoa, the southern trading town where the Somali parliament sits.

''Two hundred and eleven approved the nomination of Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein. Only one lawmaker remained silent, therefore the nomination is approved,'' said parliamentary speaker Sheikh Adan Madobe.

President Abdullahi Yusuf nominated Hussein, an Italian-trained lawyer and now a senior Somali Red Crescent officer, on Thursday.

Hussein's nomination was announced three weeks after his predecessor quit, caving into pressure over a feud with Yusuf and criticism over a lack of progress in building the transitional government.

Hussein's biggest challenge lies in bringing unity to Somalia where one million people have been uprooted by fighting between Islamist insurgents and government troops, backed by Ethiopian military.

Thousands of civilians have died this year in what the United Nations says is Africa's biggest humanitarian crisis.

REUTERS RJ KP1437

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