Somali Lawmakers Elect New President

Posted September 10th, 2012 at 2:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Somali lawmakers have elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the country's new president.

Mr. Mohamud defeated incumbent leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in a third-round run-off vote Monday.

Speaker of parliament Mohamed Sheikh Osman said the new president won in a landslide.

“Sharif Sheikh Amed got 79 votes. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud got 190 votes.”

Another two votes were disqualified.

Former President Ahmed conceded defeat in a speech before parliament and said he would support to the new president, who was immediately sworn in.

The election was a major step in a U.N.-backed plan to create a more effective government in Somalia after two decades of war and chaos.

It followed adoption of a new constitution and the creation of a new parliament last month.

Mr. Mohamud and Mr. Ahmed were the last candidates standing after a day of voting that began with 22 presidential hopefuls.

The new president is 56 years old, a lifelong civil-society activist and leader of the Peace and Development Party.

He takes over a country that has not had a stable central government since 1991. However, hopes for peace and stability are rising. Militant group al-Shabab has lost most of its major strongholds to African Union and Somali government forces, and peace has largely returned to Mogadishu, which endured years of almost daily fighting.