Somalian political and ethnic leaders on Wednesday voted in a new draft constitution which will pave the way for a new government to be elected.

The vote, which was passed by an overwhelming majority, marked the end of a nine-day gathering, attended by 825 delegates, at the constitutional assembly in Mogadishu.

The constitution is expected to be in place for five years and includes a human rights bill and a bill that retains Islam’s status as the country’s only permitted religion.

Under a United Nations-backed election plan, Somalia’s next leader will be voted in by parliament later this month.

However, Wednesday’s historic vote was almost marred by an attempted suicide attack on the constitutional assembly. Government forces thwarted the attack earlier in the day, killing two men who tried to enter the building carrying explosives.

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