Somalia's Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo chosen as new President

Somalia's MPs elected Abdullahi Farmajo, holder of dual US-Somalia citizenship, as the country's new president in a vote held at a heavily guarded aircraft hangar.

Feb 9, 2017 10:15 IST
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 Abdullahi Farmajo The Parliament of Somalia elected former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, as the country's new president on 8 February 2017.

Farmajo was chosen after two rounds of voting, after which he immediately took the oath of the office. The large consensus for Farmajo led current President Hassan Sheikh, who was elected to the office in 2012, to concede defeat and withdraw himself from the contest.


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Key Highlights

• Due to rising security threats from Islamic militants, the voting was conducted at a heavily guarded airport complex in its capital city, Mogadishu.

• To ensure further safety, a no-fly zone was imposed over the city and traffic was also banned.

• From the 328 votes cast, 184 were won by Farmajo and remaining 97 by Mohamud.

•  Mohamed's election is part of a lengthy process initiated to rebuild the nation’s democracy and achieve stability.

Farmajo's victory was welcomed by several senior-level ministers including the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdusalam H. Omer. His victory was also greeted by celebratory gunfire in all government-controlled areas of the country.

Challenges Ahead

• Somalia is one of the seven Muslim-majority countries that face an immigration ban in the US, according to US President Donald Trump’s recent executive order.

• The country is also one of the poorest in the world.

• Due to a long-drawn civil war, the country’s governance structure, economic infrastructure and institutions are in complete shambles and need complete revival.

• It hosts various extremists groups such as Al-Shabaab that pose a danger to its peace and security.

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About Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo

• Born in Mogadishu, Farmajo holds a dual citizenship of the United States and Somalia.

• He completed his bachelor's and master's degrees from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo.

• He initially served as the First Secretary in the Somali embassy in Washington.

• He was also employed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somalia before the federal government collapsed in 1991 and a civil war broke out.

• During the period 1994-1997, he was chosen as the Commissioner for the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority and also served as the finance chairman.

• He then later worked as the Commissioner for Equal Employment at the New York State Department of Transportation in Buffalo from 2002 to 2010.  

• He was appointed as the new Prime Minister of Somalia in October 2010 by the then-President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, replacing Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke.



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