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A former Somali president voted out of power in 2017 has been reelected to the country’s top job after defeating the incumbent leader in a protracted contest decided by legislators in a third round of voting late Sunday.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who served as Somali president between 2012 and 2017, won the contest in the capital, Mogadishu, amid a security lockdown imposed by authorities to prevent deadly militant attacks. The first round of voting was contested by 36 aspirants, four of whom proceeded to the second round. With no candidate winning at least two-thirds of the 328 ballots, voting then went into a third round where Mohamud won by a simple majority.
Members of the upper and lower legislative chambers picked the president in secret balloting inside a tent in an airport hangar within the Halane military camp, which is protected by African Union peacekeepers. Mohamud’s election ended a protracted electoral process that raised political tensions — and heightened insecurity concerns — after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s mandate expired in February 2021 without a successor in place.
Mohamed and Mohamud sat side-by-side Sunday, watching calmly as the ballots were counted.
Celebratory gunfire rang out in parts of Mogadishu as it became clear that Mohamud had defeated the man who replaced him five years ago.