Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed elected President
Somalia held its presidential election yesterday in an indirect election in parliament and elected former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as its new President. He beat off 20 other contenders for the post including incumbent president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in a two round contest.
The election concludes a period of elections which started back in October 2016 with a semi-democratic series of votes to elect 275 members of the lower house and 54 members of the upper house in the Federal Parliament.
In the first round President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud came top with 88 votes whilst Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed came second with 72 votes. Because no candidate had two thirds of the vote a second round was held which included the top four candidates. In the second round Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed took 184 votes and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took 97 votes. The president then immediately conceded defeat.
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (54) (popularly known as Farmajo) was born in Mogadishu but his family moved to Buffalo in the United States and he obtained a BA in History from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1988. He acted as First Secretary in the Somali embassy in Washington and as an at-large Commissioner for the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority and then Commissioner for Equal Employment at the New York State Department of Transportation in Buffalo. In 2010 he returned to Somalia to take up the post of Prime Minister, which he held from the November until June 2011.
Somalia is a divided country still racked by terrorism by the Salafist jihadist fundamentalist group Al-Shabaab. The new president, although a popular choice, faces rampant corruption, the terrorist threat and a weak economy with low grade government largely distrusted by the people.