The new president of Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi was inaugurated and sworn at the capital Hargeisa on Wednesday December 13, 2017, following the November polls widely acclaimed as peaceful and democratic one across the country.
The outgoing president Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) handed over power to Muse Bihi Abdi in a ceremony held at the presidential palace in the capital Hargeisa.
Bihi becomes the 5th president of Somaliland since it declared secession from Somalia in 1991. The former vice-president of is the current vice-president elect.
The other contending two opposition parties were UCID’s headed by Faisal Ali Warabe and Waddani led by Abdurrahman Mohamed Abdilahi (Irro) who both accepted a defeat. The Somaliland constitution limits the number of contending parties to 3 only.
The new president will be leading Somaliland for the next five years.
The event was attended by regional and international delegates including, the UK and EU Ambassadors, Ethiopian Minister for transport, Ahmed Shide, the vice president of the Somali region of Ethiopia, Djibouti’s Minister for defense, Ali Hassan Bahdon, leading 11 delegates from Djibouti government including ministers for water and public works and Kenyan parliamentary members led by Safi Abdi Bur, the first Somali women elected as a parliament in Kenya.
The former Somaliland president Dahir Riyale Kahin, three of the former vice presidents were among those delegates attended in the ceremony.
“I solemnly transfer power to the new president, my brother and colleague Muse Bihi Abdi who succeeded the recent election” said Silanyo who had been in power since 2010. The former President Silanyo promised to be working with the new president and called for Somalilanders to unite for supporting the new president sworn today.
The president sworn, Muse Bihi Abdi has also pledged to act in accordance with the constitution and enforcing what he promised during the campaign including, the fight against corruption, droughts, unemployment, uniting the people, improving the security and bringing a recognition to Somaliland.
However, many voters and politicians have voiced hope that the smooth transfer of power would once again prove their democratic credentials and strengthen their territory’s case for international recognition. According to a source close to the new president sworn, the new government executive ministers will be nominated this week.
The presidential election was successfully held in mid November across the region. The voting exercise was largely peaceful except on few skirmishes when Waddani Presidential candidate Abdurrahman Irro cited voting irregularities but later accepted the process when he met with Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC) chairperson Abdikadir Iman Warsame and they agreed on the way forward. It’s the 5th presidential elections since the region declared self independence from Somalia in the early 1990s.
* Muse Jeeh is a freelancer writer based in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He can be reached at [email protected]