As the result of the election was announced, celebrations erupted across the capital.
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has accepted defeat in elections, handing power to ex-Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Given the ethnic nature of Somalia’s voting system, lawmakers, elected through clan delegations instead of universal suffrage, will vote for the country’s next president. The vote began with 20 candidates on the ballot and ended with lawmakers giving Mohamed the nod after two runoffs. Somalia has made huge progress in its recovery from two decades of civil war, but significant challenges remain that President Farmajo will need to address.
In 2012, just 135 elders picked the MPs, who chose the president.
These, in turn, elected took part in the presidential elections. “Farmajo has relatively little experience in running a high political office as his term as prime minister only lasted for eight months back in 2010 and 2011”, said Schadomsky.
He has lived off and on for years in the United States, where he studied history and political science. It was symbolic of the vast size of the Somali diaspora.
Despite the United Nations calling the election a “milestone” for the country, there has been widespread corruption at the local and national level, including bribery and vote-buying, with up to $20 million changing hands during parliamentary elections.
A supportive State Department response on Wednesday to the election of a new president of Somalia gives no indication of a shift in U.S. policy under President Donald Trump.
Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government was formed in 2004 with a five-year mandate to establish a new constitutional order with all groups represented.
The new president, Farmajo, can travel to the United States on his USA passport.
Multiple mortar shells hit areas near the airport in Mogadishu on Tuesday evening as the country prepared for the crucial presidential vote.
His nickname (derived from the Italian word for cheese – formaggio) was apparently inherited from his father rather than from a childhood love of Italian cheese as has been reported, but that’s perhaps a question for his first news conference.
Mohamed has previously served as prime minister in his home country and as noted in the Buffalo News, he also has worked for the state Dept. of Transportation, having attended college in Buffalo. There are reports of foreign jihadists going to Somalia to help al-Shabab, from neighbouring countries, as well as the USA and Europe.
Mohamed, 54, is a dual U.S. -Somalia citizen living in the town of Grand Island. It will not be an election as the rest of the world knows it, however. In several of those states, strongmen have emerged who are seen locally as more important and more powerful than the president.
“It has invigorated hope in the hearts of the Somali people, Kenyans, the region, as well as the globe”, she said.
“Please fight corruption as you promised when you were campaigning for president”, said Mohamed Jamaa, a resident of Mogadishu, who had joined crowds in the capital.