Somalia’s first formal parliament in more than 20 years is to be sworn in the capital, Mogadishu, marking an end to an eight-year transitional period.
Security is reported to be heavy across the city with troops and police officers patrolling the streets.
After choosing a Speaker, the MPs’ main task will be to elect a new president – a vote expected within a week or two.
Outgoing moderate Islamist President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, in power since 2009, is regarded as a favourite.
Other strong candidates include Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and former parliamentary speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.
It is a critical moment for the country which, since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991, has seen warlords, Islamist militants and its neighbours all taking a hand in its affairs.
With the help of African Union peacekeepers, the interim government has been able to gain control the capital, but al-Shabab – an armed group that has joined AL-Qaeda – runs many central and southern areas of the country.