Connect to share and comment

Somalia: Hassan Sheikh Mohamud elected as president

Somali MPs elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president, bring Somalia closer to stable government for the first time since 1991.

Somalia hassan sheikh mohamud president september 2012Enlarge
The president of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Ahmed waves to hundreds of Mogadishu residents at a ceremony north of the capital on August 6, 2012. Somalian MPs elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the next president on September 10, 2012. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Somali MPs elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the country's new president, moving Somalia closer to ending decades of war, said the BBC.

Mohamud, an academic, beat outgoing President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in a run-off poll, said the BBC.

The Associated Press reported that he beat Sharif in a legislative vote, 190 to 79, according to Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari.

Mohamud, a former UNICEF official and founder of the opposition Peace and Development Party, defeated 22 candidates, noted The Los Angeles Times. He is seen as a progressive and a civic activist.

According to the BBC, Mohamud graduated from Somalia National University in 1981 and studied in India, obtaining a master's degree in 1988 from Bhopal University. He worked with UNICEF until 1995 and co-founded the Somali Institute of Management and Administration Development in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital.

More on GlobalPost: Yemen: Al Qaeda leader killed, reports say

The LA Times noted that Sharif was accused of running a deeply corrupt government by a recent UN report. The report said that under Sharif "systematic embezzlement, pure and simple misappropriation of funds and theft of public money have become government systems."

CNN noted that Somalia has been undergoing numerous political transitions. In just the past few weeks, it has adopted a provisional constitution, held an inaugural meeting for parliament and appointed a parliamentary speaker.

Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown 21 years ago, but the country was plagued by warring militias and an unstable government. Even now, African Union and Somali troops fight Al Shabaab militants in the country's south, said CNN. In recent months, the militants were driven out of Mogadishu.

"May God help us to elect a good leader in an atmosphere of tranquility. We must give the youth of Somalia a bright future," said Jawari, according to the BBC.

More on GlobalPost: Dozens killed in latest ethnic clashes in Kenya's Tana River district

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/somalia/120910/somalia-hassan-sheikh-mohamud-elected-president