Hassan Ali Khaire has been removed after 170 out of 178 lawmakers felt he was unfit for office. Khaire has been in dispute with President Mohamed over when to hold Somalia’s national elections.

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire was removed from his post in a vote of no confidence on Saturday, the country’s parliamentary speaker said.

A simmering power struggle between Khaire and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed provided the backdrop to the vote, which resulted in 170 of parliament’s 178 MPs backing the motion.

President Mohamed, who appointed Khaire in February 2017, has been at loggerheads with the prime minister over when to stage Somalia’s national elections, due in February 2021. The president was in favor of postponing the nationwide ballot, with Khaire insisting it should go ahead.

“After learning that the government had failed in its promise to prepare a clear plan that paves the way for one-person-one-vote elections in 2021… parliament undertook a vote of no confidence against the government and its prime minister Hassan Ali Khaire,” speaker of the house Mohamed Mursal told reporters.

“The president of the federal government of Somalia… will appoint a prime minister and a government which will pave the way for elections,” Mursal added.

Unconstitutional ‘dark day’

Mohamed Abukar Islow, the internal security minister and an ally of Khaire, accused the house speaker and the president of plotting to remove the prime minister as part of plans to cement their own positions.

“It is a dark day,” Islow said, saying the move was unconstitutional as an election should occur every four years.

President Mohamed has temporarily promoted Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled to act as caretaker PM, a statement issued by the president’s office said.