Somalia’s long-awaited presidential election is over, and former prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has emerged as the victor in a somewhat surprising outcome over the incumbent, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Mohamud was the frontrunner after the first round of voting, but failed to reach a two-thirds majority of votes cast by Somalia’s newly formed federal parliament. Mohamud stepped back in the third round, and quickly conceded victory to Farmaajo in support of a smooth administrative transition – one that will follow months of electoral violence, charges of corruption and lengthy delays in the election process.
Because of Somalia’s ongoing security situation, the general election originally envisioned was deferred last year in favor of a new plan to establish a government. It began with local delegates, placed into electoral college groupings, who then voted on 275 ministers destined for the Lower House. They are joined by 54 senators in the Upper House of the parliament.
So the presidential election could not take place until all the MPs were sworn in, because they were tasked with voting for president in place of the general election plans that were abandoned.
Those MPs gathered at an airport hangar in Mogadishu, where security throughout the city was reinforced and the election site itself heavily guarded.
Farmaajo, for his part, took to Twitter to immediately appeal for stability from the Somali public and the nation’s security forces.
The voting was monitored by Francisco Caetano Madeira, Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia (AMISOM), and Michael Keating, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (UNSOM), along with high-level representatives of the international community.
Both AMISOM and UNISOM congratulated Farmaajo on his victory and promised their support.
Image: Farmaajo 2017