By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Somalia’s former leader Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been elected president after a final vote that was only open to the country’s MPs.
Somali politicians voted on Sunday, for a new president despite bomb explosions near the fortified airport hangar.
He defeated the current president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who has been in office since 2017.
The ballot was limited to Somalia’s 328 MPs due to security concerns over holding a wider selection, and one of them did not cast a vote.
Mohamud received 214 votes, defeating Farmajo who won 110 votes.
Thirty-six initial aspirants were reduced to four veteran faces in first-round voting by parliament, guarded by AU peacekeepers, who are in Somalia to fend off Islamist insurgents.
Even as the first round took place, blasts rang out near Mogadishu airport, according to residents and a Reuters reporter.
The former prime minister of Somalia congratulated the new president-elect saying that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been trusted again to lead the country.
“Tonight the struggle we had to take over the country with an open box and a vote, and I congratulate the newly elected president for the heavy responsibility he had. I hope that Allah will help you with this responsibility and be one that removes the country and the people from the political, security and economic obstacles in the country at this time.”
“I also thank all the Somali parliamentarians who voted for me in the first and second round of the presidential election contest. I would like to thank the millions of Somali people who have shown support to our political programme and were the backbone of the success we reached today.”
“This is politics and its rules, sometimes you win, sometimes you are closer to success. The work is first, the development is ongoing, the struggle is constant, the aim is the same, and the congratulations are for the elected president of the Federal Republic of Somalia.”
The UN-backed vote was delayed by more than a year due to squabbling in government, but must be held this month to ensure a $400 million (R6.48 billion) International Monetary Fund programme.
Somalia has endured civil war, insurgency and clan battles with no strong central government since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.