Somalia's prime minister has introduced a quota of 30 per cent female representation in parliament in preparation for the election being held next month, Reutersreported yesterday.
Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, 57, made the decision to impose the quota after talks with female lawmakers in both the upper and lower Houses of Parliament.
The quota will increase female representation in the parliament by six per cent, as women currently hold 24 per cent of Somalia's 329 parliamentary seats.
The quota, long demanded by local women's rights groups, will take effect by 8 February, when the next Somali election is due to take place.
Women's rights groups, however, have warned the new laws could be difficult to implement in the short time frame, Reuters reported.
Securing the quota, they said, depends heavily on the commitment of clan leaders who will need to nominate enough female representatives to fill the reserved seats.
Somali elections are decided by clan leaders who nominate delegates to parliament, rather than a one-person, one-vote system.
Delegates vote in the 275 members of parliament and 54 senators, who then elect a president via a secret ballot.
The president then elects a prime minister, who appoints a cabinet.
Somalia has been gripped by civil war since 1991 and still faces significant security threats from the Al-Qaeda-linked group, Al-Shabaab.
On 2 January, a targeted car bomb attack, later claimed by Al-Shabaab, killed four people including one Turkish citizen just outside the capital Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab frequently carries out bombings to try to undermine Somalia's central government, which is backed by the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping troops.
Turkey, which is a major source of aid to Somalia, provides commando training to the African state's army as part of a military cooperation pact between the two countries.
The training, which started in Turkey's southwestern province of Isparta on 21 December, includes 150 military personnel from the Somali military.
Last August, Turkey's Ambassador to Mogadishu Mehmet Yilmaz told Anadolu Agency that Turkey is on track to train one-third of Somali military forces, totalling around 15,000-16,000 personnel.
Ankara is seeking to increase its influence in the Horn of Africa to counter rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).