Somalia: Return to the presidency after five years for Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

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Five years later, he returns to power: Somalia’s federal parliament on Sunday re-elected Hassan Sheikh Mohammed, 66, as president for a second term following a meeting of draconian security forces in a country plagued by jihadists. who swears allegiance to Al Qaeda, and is once again faced with the threat of famine.

Following a marathon vote, Hassan Sheikh Mohammed, the former president (2012-2017), was ousted by outgoing head of state Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed, or Pharmazo, who had defeated him five years ago. In the capital Mogadishu were heard fire of fans of the winner who were celebrating.

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The election process was delayed by more than a year in the volatile country in the Horn of Africa, which is experiencing a long political crisis and historical drought.

Deputies and senators began voting yesterday to elect the new head of state, choosing among the 36 candidates under strict security measures, inside the perimeter of the international airport.

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Explosions were heard near the airport as voting began, recalling how precarious the situation in the country remains. According to police, however, no casualties were reported.

After hours of voting being broadcast live on state television, the process reached its third and final phase, with two candidates running in it, Pharmajo and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s predecessor, as they did five years ago.

In the final vote, Mr. Mohammad prevailed with 214 votes against 110 of his opponent.

Typically, President Farmazzo’s term ended in February 2021, but there was no agreement among state leaders on holding elections.

The two-year extension of his tenure by lawmakers in April 2021 sparked fighting in the capital Mogadishu, reminiscing about decades of civil war since 1991. In recent months, the conflict between President Farmazzo and his prime minister has escalated. Mohammed Hussein Roble, who had taken over the organization of the elections.

The electoral process is based on an indirect, highly complex system: local state parliaments, as well as representatives of a myriad of tribes, elect the deputies who in turn elect a president.

“In Somali politics it is very difficult to make predictions,” said Omar Mahmoud, an analyst at the International Crisis Group. “It is essentially a matter of alliances and relations, rather than programs.”

With the spectrum of instability, members of the Somali parliament seemed to be choosing a certain sequel, said Samira Gide, executive director of the Hiral Institute, which specializes in security issues. “People did not go to a new person, they chose a famous person,” he said.

For the past year and a half, the international community has been calling on Somali leaders to hold elections, saying the delays have diverted attention from the threat posed by Shebab, who has been waging an uprising for the past 15 years.

Ahead of the election, EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell said it was “time for Somali leaders to focus on reconciliation and peacebuilding”.

In recent months, Shebab has stepped up its attacks, launching a twin raid on the central part of the country in March (48 dead), then targeting an African Union force base (10 dead in the official tally).

These elections were also considered crucial for the economic future of Somalia, where 71% of the population lives on less than 1.80 euros a day.

The International Monetary Fund had warned that the $ 400 million bailout program would automatically end on May 17 if no government was formed. The outgoing government had requested at the end of April that this deadline be extended for three months, without receiving a response.

The country of 15 million people is facing one of the worst droughts in decades and aid organizations fear a famine similar to that of 2011, when 260,000 people died.

Source: AMPE

Source: Capital

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