Somalia’s former leader Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been elected president after a final vote that was only open to the country’s lawmakers. He defeated the current president, Mohamed Abudallahi Farmajo, who has been in office since 2017.
The elections were hotly contested, went to a third round and were delayed for almost 15 months. The ballot was limited to Somalia’s 328 MPs due to security concerns over holding a wider election. Mohamud received 214 votes, defeating Farmajo who won 110 votes. Three MPs spoiled their ballots and one of them did not cast a vote.
The result marks a comeback for Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who served as Somalia’s president between 2012 and 2017 before he was defeated by Farmajo.
Mohamud was sworn in shortly after the final results were announced, prompting supporters in the capital to cheer and fire guns into the air. He will serve for the next four years.
In the vote on Sunday, hundreds of parliamentarians cast their ballots at a fortified aircraft hangar in the capital Mogadishu. Explosions could be heard nearby as voting was taking place, but police said no casualties were reported.
The incoming president, will have to deal with an ongoing drought in which the United Nations says 3.5 million Somalis are at risk of severe famine.
He is also to wrest control of much of Somalia from al-Shabab. The al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group continues to dominate large parts of the country and carries out frequent attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere. The country is also being affected by food and fuel inflation sparked by the war in Ukraine.—BBC