Mogadishu — Former Somali prime minister , Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, was elected president Wednesday after incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud admitted defeat in a second round of voting by legislators.
"This is the beginning of unity for the Somali nation, the beginning of the fight against Al-Shabaab and corruption", a triumphant Farmajo said after being declared the winner in a long, drawn-out election process in the conflict-wracked nation.
After six hours and two rounds of voting, Farmajo failed to win the required two-thirds majority, but had 184 votes to Mohamud’s 97, prompting the incumbent to drop out of a third round.
Celebrations erupted in the capital Mogadishu, and even in Dadaab, the world’s biggest refugee camp populated by Somalis in eastern Kenya, according to witness.
Farmajo, 55, is a father of four who holds joint American and Somali citizenship.
He served as prime minister for only eight months between 2010 and 2011 and was ousted before he had a chance to prove himself in a deal to form a new government and postpone elections that year.
The internationally backed government still has limited control over a country where swathes of countryside are controlled by Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militants who regularly launch deadly strikes against Mogadishu.
In the absence of political parties, clan remains the organising principle of Somali politics, The country, renowned as the world’s foremost failed state, in 2012 held the first elections inside its own borders since the 1991 overthrow of Siad Barre’s military regime which led to decades of anarchy and the rise of the Al-Shabaab.
Then 135 clan elders picked the legislators who went on to elect the president.