The Parliament of Somalia elected former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, as the country’s new president on 8 February 2017. Somalia’s Parliament elected former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, a dual US-Somali citizen, as the country’s new president. Farmajo was declared victorious after incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud dropped out of the contest following the second round of voting. The vote was held at the heavily guarded airport complex in the capital, Mogadishu, as the rest of the country is too dangerous.Traffic was banned and a no-fly zone imposed over the city to prevent attacks by militant Islamists. Despite this, suspected militants fired mortar rounds close to the venue. Somalia has not had a one-person one-vote democratic election since 1969.That vote was followed by a coup, dictatorship and conflict involving clan militias and Islamist extremists.
Mr Mohamed’s election is part of a lengthy and complex process to help the East African state rebuild its democracy and achieve stability.More than 20,000 African Union (AU) troops are stationed in Somalia to prevent militant Islamist group al-Shabab from overthrowing the weak government.The new president is popularly known as “Farmajo”, from the Italian for cheese, because of his love for the dairy product. Much of Somalia was a former Italian colony. Thousands of Somalis quickly took to the streets to celebrate Mr Mohamed victory and cheering soldiers from the Somali army fired into the air, the Associated Press news agency reports. Mr Mohamed is seen as a Somali nationalist, and his chances of winning increased after Somalia’s arch-rival, Ethiopia, was seen to be backing the defeated president. Mr Mohamed obtained 184 votes, compared with 97 for the outgoing president, who accepted defeat, avoiding a third and final vote.