U.N. welcomes successful conclusion of Somalia’s Presidential election

Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (C) and incumbent President Mohamed Farmajo attend a voting session for the presidential election in Mogadishu, Somalia, May 15, 2022. /AP
Somalia’s newly-elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (C) pictured alongside former Somalia President Mohamed Farmajo while attending a voting session for the presidential election in Mogadishu, Somalia, May 15, 2022. /AP

The United Nations has welcomed the successful conclusion of Somalia’s Presidential election.

The vote was conducted on Sunday in Mogadishu, after more than a year’s delay occasioned by political squabbles.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud won the election in the third round, where he beat the incumbent President Mohammed Abdullahi ‘Farmaajo’ by 214 votes to 110.

“I would like to congratulate the newly-elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on his victory tonight, but also express our appreciation to the other candidates, and particularly outgoing President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo,’ for respecting the outcome and for continuing the Somali tradition of embracing whoever wins and supporting them going forward – the  atmosphere tonight, I think, was very positive,” the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, said in the early hours of Monday morning.

The election was held in the capital, as an area known locally as the “hangar,” located near the Aden Adde International Airport.

The UN envoy was present at the event, alongside other representatives from international partners.

At the start of the vote, close to 40 people had submitted their candidatures.

The country was filled with hope for a peaceful process, with many Somalis taking to social media to follow the closed proceedings that were broadcast live on local media outlets.

Blasts were reported close to the election venue just before the start of the process, but this did not deter its commencement.

At the end of the vote, newly-elected Mohamed, who will now serve his second term after also ruling from 2012-2017, pledged to unite the country.

“Let us think about tomorrow, not yesterday and what happened. I will work on a brilliant tomorrow and a beautiful future for the sake of my people to live with dignity in the world. I will implement my motto: Somalia at peace with itself and with the world,” he said in his victory speech.

On his part, Farmaajo conceded defeat and wished the new leader well in his tenure.

“I want to welcome and congratulate the new President my brother Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, we pray for the almighty to help him in this difficult task, it is not an easy task and we are very ready to closely cooperate and work with him,” he said.

Swan reiterated the message by the two leaders, urging Somalis to unite in moving the country forward beyond the months of lengthy political differences.

“Now it’s time for Somalis and for Somalia’s friends to come together to support the new government as it is installed, and to work on the critical national priorities that still face Somalia,” he said.

“There’s much work to be done, and we look forward to being Somalia’s partners going forward.”