Former Prime Minister Farmaajo elected Federal President after incumbent concedes defeat

The newly elected president of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo (centre) makes an acceptance speech as the outgoing president Hasan Sheikh Mohamud listens at the Mogadishu Airport on 8 February 2017. UN Photo.

8 Feb 2017

Former Prime Minister Farmaajo elected Federal President after incumbent concedes defeat

Former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo was today elected federal president of Somalia after defeating incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in a hotly contested presidential election.

Mr. Farmaajo was declared the winner after President Mohamud conceded defeat following the second round of voting, even though both candidates fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to be declared President in that balloting. Mr. Farmaajo had garnered 184 votes against President Mohamud’s 97 votes, while former President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed finished third with 46 votes.

The contest proceeded to the second round after none of the 21 registered candidates received a two-thirds majority of the votes in the first round.

In his concession speech, outgoing President Mohamud urged the people of Somalia to remain united and rally behind their new federal president for the betterment of the country.

“I urge the people of Somalia both in the country and in the diaspora to support the new president and work very closely with him to enable him to discharge his duties and develop the country. I also want to congratulate the new president and wish him well,” the outgoing President said to loud applause.

For his part, Mr. Farmaajo pledged to be a just and fair chief of state. He described his victory as a reflection of the aspirations of the people and marked a turning point in the history of the country.

“This is the beginning of the unity of the Somali people. It marks the beginning of a secure and stable Somalia as a country and it is the beginning of democracy in Somalia and the fight against corruption. I promise not to abuse your trust, to work justly and to support the poor,” he declared after being sworn in as the new President.

A total of 328 legislators took part in the exercise, which was officiated by the Speaker of the Federal Parliament’s House of the People, Mohamed Osman Jawari.

The voting was witnessed by prominent members of the international community led by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Chairperson (SRCC) for Somalia, Francisco Caetano Madeira, and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Michael Keating.

Speaking moments before Mr. Farmaajo was declared the winner, SRCC Madeira described the events of the day as historical, and he noted the important role played by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in securing the electoral process in collaboration with Somali security forces.

“Today is a great day because we are going to conclude this long journey.  A president is going to be elected. Whether it is the incumbent or someone else. what matters is that he will be a Somali President and we will work with whoever is elected,” he added.

The exercise was held at a Somali Air Force hangar at Mogadishu’s international airport under tight security by AMISOM troops and Somali security forces.

The election of Farmaajo as president brings to an end an electoral process that commenced in October with the election of members of the federal parliament’s Upper House.