Somalia's prime minister resigned today to prevent what he called political turmoil amid an impasse with the country's president.
Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke told reporters he was resigning while standing alongside President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who thanked the prime minister for what he called a "courageous decision."
"After seeing that the political turmoil between me and the president has caused security vulnerability, I have decided to resign to save the nation and give a chance to others," the prime minister said.
The resignation comes amid a rift between Sharmarke and Ahmed over a new draft constitution. The two have not gotten along for months, and a vote of confidence on the prime minister had been scheduled over the weekend, though it was postponed.
Ahmed called Sharmarke's decision "historic" because the impasse was settled among Somalis instead of seeking outside intervention. Sharmarke, who holds a Canadian passport, became prime minister in February 2009 after the government signed a deal with opposition groups led by Ahmed.
The prime minister appeared far from downcast as he announced his resignation. Sharmarke smiled and waved to reporters as he left the news conference, which was well-attended by members of parliament and Cabinet members.