Ahmed Mohamed Madobe Islaam was officially sworn in for his second term as President of Jubbaland, a Somali region regarded as key to East Africa’s fight against al-Shabaab militants.
Mr. Ahmed was reelected after garnering 56 of the 74 votes cast by the lawmakers in the regional parliament, speaker Cabdi Maxamed Abdirahmaan said.
Jubbaland is a top security partner for neighboring Kenya, which helps Somalia fight the militant group.
The bitter local contest stoked tensions between Kenya and Ethiopia, longtime allies who both have large contingents of peacekeepers in the country and see Jubbaland as a buffer zone against Islamist attacks in their own countries.
Kenya supports Ahmed, while Ethiopia has grown increasingly close to the federal government in Mogadishu.
“I am ready to sit and speak with all people, including the opposition. I will speak and work with anyone who has a complaint,” Ahmed told parliament after the vote.
The central government in Mogadishu said on Saturday it would not recognize the result. The government says the candidate selection process had violated the national constitution.
Not all of Somalia’s stakeholders have confidence in the process and there is a risk that the vote’s outcome will not be widely accepted, the United Nations mission in Somalia said last week.
The re-elected leader Ahmed ousted Shabaab from Jubbaland’s capital in 2012 with the help of Kenyan forces, took power and was elected in 2015.
Jubbaland is the third of Somalia’s seven semi-autonomous regions to hold presidential elections before next year’s national presidential vote.