Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was sworn in as Somalia’s new president on Wednesday (8/02/17) after lawmakers voted behind the secure blast walls of the capital’s airport, according to Reuters.
Farmajo, a dual U.S.-Somali citizen and former prime minister, beat his closest rival and incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in the second round of voting. And although he did not gain the required two thirds of the 327 cast, Mr Mohamud conceded defeat making third round irrelevant.
Celebratory gunfire erupted across Mogadishu at his triumph, after a security lock-down in the seaside city aimed at preventing attacks by the al Shabaab which had threatened to interfere with the Western-backed election process.
Outgoing President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, whose administration faced public and Western criticism for corruption scandals, conceded defeat as it became clear he could not win in a third round of voting.
“History was made, we have taken this path to democracy, and now I want to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo,” said Mohamud.
The voting process began on Wednesday after 14,000 elders and prominent regional figures chose 275 members of parliament and 54 senators, who in turn chose whether to back President Mohamud for a second term or one of 21 hopefuls.
According to Al Jazeera, sources within the parliament had affirmed that huge sums of money were paid by some of the candidates and rival presidential candidates have accused each other of buying the loyalty of MPs, drawing furious denials.
According to the Constitution of Somalia, the President of Somalia is the Head of State, and Prime Minister the Head of Government.
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President with Parliament’s approval.
The country has a bicameral legislature, which consists of the Senate (upper house) and the National Assembly of Somalia (lower house).
Together, they make up the Federal Parliament of Somalia.