Former prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared Somalia’s new president

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MOGADISHU // A former prime minister and dual US-Somali citizen was declared Somalia’s new president on Wednesday, taking the oath of office as the country moved toward its first fully functioning government in 25 years.

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Incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud conceded defeat after two rounds of voting, and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was declared the new leader.

“History was made, we have taken this path to democracy, and now I want to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo,” Mr Mohamud said.

Thousands of cheering Somalis poured into the streets in jubilation, chanting the new president’s name, while cheering soldiers fired shots into the air.

“Somalia will be another Somalia soon,” said Ahmed Ali, a police officer celebrating in the crowd.

Fears of attacks by extremist group Al Shabab limited the election to MPs only rather than the entire population. Members of the upper and lower houses of the legislature dropped their ballots into clear boxes at the heavily guarded election venue, a former airbase in Mogadishu.

Mr Mohamud held a slight lead over Mr Farmajo after the first round of voting, which included 21 candidates, but the latter held a clear lead after the second round, in which just three candidates remained.

“This victory represents the interest of the Somali people. This victory belongs to Somali people, and this is the beginning of the era of the unity, the democracy of Somalia and the beginning of the fight against corruption,” Mr Farmajo said after taking the oath of office.

* Associated Press

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