Somalia’s Parliament on Monday elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, aged 56, as President of Somalia for the next four years.

The Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Osman Jawari, said that Hassan Sheikh Mohamud came second out of 22 candidates in the first round of voting in which no candidate achieved a two-thirds majority.

Four candidates qualified for the second round: Sheikh Sharif sheikh Ahmed, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and Abdulkadir Osoble.

Dr. Abdiweli and Abdulkadir Osoble then pulled out, and in the final vote, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected President by the substantial majority of 190 to 79. 269 MPs were present for the vote.

The new President was formally sworn in and made a short speech thanking members for electing him as the nation’s leader. He asked the Somali people to collaborate with him on efforts to restore the country. He said that he had a real hope "that the problems of Somalia will come to an end" and Somalia "will now turn a new page and that page will be written with good history rather than bad history”.

He is expected to name a prime minister, who will form a council of ministers, shortly.

The outgoing President, Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, said he is "happy to see the first free and fair election happen in Somalia after 40 years". He congratulated the new president for a fair election, and declared that he was "fully satisfied with the results." Members of the international community say the election of the new president is a key step for the transition of Somalia from a war-torn failed state to a nation with an effective government.

Source: MFA – Sept. 12, 2012

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