Somalia has elected a new president after a prolonged election impasse that nearly pushed the country into conflict.
Somali parliamentarians elected former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to replace Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, commonly known as Farmaajo. Mohamud has assumed office and faces daunting tasks as he pledges to steer the country toward peace and reconciliation.
Somalia’s 2022 presidential elections attracted 39 candidates. After three rounds of voting by 328 MPs and senators, former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud emerged victorious in the final round with 214 votes, more than enough to defeat incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, commonly known as Farmaajo.
Mohamud returns to power after serving as president from 2012 to 2017.
‘Thank you all," he said. "And peace of Allah be upon you all."
In Mogadishu, residents celebrated with the anticipation of a better future. The new administration has its priorities, with corruption being a key challenge, according to Abdurahman Nur Mohamed, known as Dinari, who was once the Somalian ambassador to South Sudan.
The new president must fight corruption, be responsible, be trustworthy, and serve as an example of virtue for the government, said Dinari. The new leader also must ensure the country is free of corruption, he said.
Supporters hope Mohamud’s experience will give him an advantage in tackling Somalia’s problems. Ahmed Dini, a founding member of Somali Peace Line, a nongovernmental organization that works for conflict resolution, believes the new president will make good use of his second chance as president.
Dini also said that the new president has the advantage of having already ruled the country. "He understands where we have stagnated and where we have improved," he said.
On the streets of Mogadishu, people expressed optimism about Mohamud’s leadership, with many seeing him as one who understands the country’s history and complexities.
Mogadishu resident Mohamed Ahmed said that, while in office from 2012 to 2017, Mohamud made great strides in creating federal state institutions. "So, we expect him to complete the remaining work," he said. "We are confident in him and trust him."
The new president has received notes of congratulations and pledges of support from world leaders. In a brief speech, he promised to unite the country and work together with all levels of government.