By Race Opell
During a vote broadcast live on national television, Somalia’s parliament elected former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the country’s tenth president this past Sunday. Mohamud previously served as president from September 2012 to February 2017.
Mohamud, the first two-time president in the country’s history defeated outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo.
Farmaajo came under scrutiny late last year as he suspended the powers of the prime minister during a struggle for power, triggering calls for calm from the US and UK, and raising concerns of political violence.
“I congratulate the president-elect, my brother, H.E @HassanSMohamud on his election as our nation’s 10th president. I urge all my fellow citizens to support & pray for his success. I would like to express my appreciation to everyone who contributed to smooth & peaceful elections,” Farmaajo said in a Twitter post conceding defeat.
Following the election, Mohamud vowed to “work on a stable politics that leads Somalia to agreement and the world to agreement.”
Antony J. Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State offered the following statement regarding the election results:
“The United States congratulates the people of Somalia on the conclusion of their national electoral process. We also congratulate Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on his election as the president of the Federal Republic of Somalia and look forward to working closely with him and the new government.
With the conclusion of this process, Somalia now has an opportunity to focus on the political, economic, and security reforms necessary to advance the interests of the people of Somalia. We encourage President Hassan Sheikh and all of Somalia’s leaders to prioritize strengthening democratic governance and institutions; developing security forces to prevent and counter terrorism and assume full security responsibility from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia; enacting economic reforms to complete Somalia’s path to debt relief and strengthen the economy; and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to the millions of Somalis suffering from devastating drought. Reconciliation, compromise, and enhanced dialogue among all levels of government and all communities will be vital to the success of these efforts.
The United States looks forward to the timely formation of a new government and partnering with Somalia’s leaders to achieve our shared goal of a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Somalia.“
According to Wikipedia, Somalia, officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country in the Horn of Africa. The country is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa‘s mainland. Its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains, and highlands. Hot conditions prevail year-round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall. Somalia has an estimated population of around 15 million, of which over 2 million live in the capital and largest city Mogadishu, and has been described as Africa’s most culturally homogeneous country. Around 85% of its residents are ethnic Somalis, who have historically inhabited the country’s north. Ethnic minorities are largely concentrated in the south. The official languages of Somalia are Somali and Arabic. Most people in the country are Muslims, the majority of them Sunni.