Former head of state Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud elected president of Somalia

Five years later, history is repeating itself. Somalia indeed elected Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud as its president on Sunday for the second time, after a ballot under high security, in a country plagued by the insurrection of radical Islamists Shebab and where famine threatens.

Following a marathon vote, Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud, president between 2012 and 2017, won against outgoing head of state Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo. Celebratory gunfire echoed through the capital Mogadishu.

Farmajo acknowledges his defeat and promises his “solidarity”

“It is truly remarkable that the president is here by my side, we must go forward and never go back, we must heal our wounds,” declared the new president, immediately invested, referring to his predecessor Farmajo. “I greet my brother here, the new president Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud, and wish him good luck in the face of the enormous task that awaits him,” said the latter, promising his “solidarity”.

This election took place after more than a year of delay in this unstable country in the Horn of Africa shaken by a long political crisis. Deputies and senators began voting on Sunday to decide between the 36 candidates, under a tent placed under curfew erected in the perimeter of Mogadishu airport, where security forces are omnipresent.

The same final as five years ago

Explosions were heard near the airport as voting began, a reminder of how precarious the security situation remains. However, police said no casualties were reported. After hours of voting, broadcast on national television, the complex electoral process has entered its third and final phase with the two candidates still in the running, the outgoing president and his predecessor, as five years ago. During this final vote, the officials of the Parliament counted more than 165 votes in favor of Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud, consecrating his victory.

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Farmajo’s mandate had expired in February 2021, without an agreement with regional leaders on the organization of new elections. The two-year extension of his mandate by MPs in April 2021 sparked fighting in Mogadishu, rekindling the memory of the decades of civil war that ravaged the country after 1991.

The specter of the 2011 famine

For a year and a half, the international community has multiplied calls to complete the elections, believing that the delays diverted the authorities from the fight against the Shebab, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, who have been leading an insurrection in the country for 15 years. In recent months, these radical Islamists have intensified their bloody attacks.

This election is also crucial for the economic future of Somalia, where 71% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day. The country is also facing one of the worst droughts in decades. Humanitarian organizations fear a famine similar to that of 2011, which killed 260,000 people.

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