Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has "suspended" the powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, a statement released by the president's office said on Sunday.
"The president decided to suspend prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and stop his powers since he was linked with corruption," the statement said, accusing Roble of interfering with an investigation into a land-grabbing case.
The suspension of Roble's powers comes after he and Mohamed entered into a war of words on Sunday, accusing each other of holding up the country's ongoing parliamentary elections.
What we know so far
President Mohamed said the prime minister's powers will remain suspended pending a probe over allegations of corruption and misconduct.
Roble "entered the fray with allegations of corruption and misappropriation of public funds, and an investigation is underway to determine the allegations, the work and powers of the prime minister have been suspended pending an investigation," the president's statement read.
It added that other members of the Council of Ministers would continue their duties in accordance with the laws and regulations of the country.
How has the prime minister responded?
In response, Roble has accused the president of attempting "to take over the office of the prime minister by force (in) a move violating the constitution and the law of the country."
"The prime minister ... is committed to not being deterred by anyone in fulfilling his national duties in order to lead the country to elections that pave the way for peaceful power transfer," said the statement released by Roble's office.
The government spokesperson, Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, also issued a post on Facebook describing the president's action as unconstitutional.
He said the prime minister would continue with his duties.
What is happening with the elections?
The elections, which began on November 1, were slated to be over by December 24. However, a newly elected parliamentarian said that only 24 of 275 lawmakers had been elected by Saturday, Reuters news agency reported.
Earlier on Sunday, the president's office said that Roble "is posing a serious threat to the electoral process and overstepping his mandate."
The prime minister's office hit back, saying President Mohamed had spent "so much time, energy and finances in frustrating the national elections" and was "derailing the electoral process."
In April this year, clashes broke out between factions of the security forces allied to Mohamed and Roble, as the prime minister and opposition decried a move to extend the president's four-year term to two more years.
The groups seized areas of the capital, Mogadishu, forcing 60,000 to 100,000 people to flee their homes.
The showdown was resolved when Mohamed put the prime minister in charge of security and of organizing the delayed elections.
US calls for 'credible, rapid' conclusion
US diplomats on Sunday asked for a "credible and rapid conclusion" to the polls in Somalia.
"The United States is deeply concerned by the continuing delays and by the procedural irregularities that have undermined the credibility of the process," the US State Department said.
Washington also put its weight behind the call for an in-person National Consultative Council this week to step up the election process.
The Somali prime minister has pledged to conduct a meeting on Monday to help speed up the election.
President Mohamed's office also said that he would hold a meeting, separately, on the elections and agree "on a capable leadership to spearhead timely, and transparent elections."