Somali lawmakers have sworn in moderate Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as the country's new president.
a runoff vote early Saturday in Djibouti, President Sharif received 293
votes by secret ballot. He replaces former president Abdullahi Yusuf
Ahmed, who resigned in December following months of political
President Sharif defeated the son of former
President Mohamed Siad Barre, who got 126 votes. Another rival, Somali
Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, dropped out of the race after the
third round of balloting.
The lawmakers met in Djibouti because of the instability in Somalia.
President Sharif was expected to fly immediately to Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, to attend the African union Summit.
His win marks a major boost in efforts to create an inclusive government in Somalia.
had voted earlier this week to double the size of the parliament to
include Mr. Sharif's moderate Islamist party - Islamist Alliance for
the Re-Liberation of Somalia, or ARS.
President Sharif had
previously headed the Islamic Courts Union, which briefly controlled
much of Somalia in 2006. Last year, he signed a peace agreement with
However, hardline Islamists did not accept
that peace deal, and insurgents continue to fight for more territory
across the country. Somalia's government now controls only parts of
the capital, Mogadishu, with the help of several thousand African Union
Somalia has not had an effective central government since hardline ruler Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.