Five years later, he returned to power: Somalia elected Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud to the presidency for the second time on Sunday 15 May, after a ballot in maximum security, in a country afflicted by the insurrection of the radical Islamists Shebab and where famine is threatening.
After a marathon of votes, Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud, president from 2012 to 2017, won against outgoing head of state Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, who had beaten him five years ago. Celebratory gunfire echoed through the country’s capital, Mogadishu.
“It is truly extraordinary that the President is here by my side, we must move forward and never come back, we must heal our wounds”declared the new president, immediately invested, referring to his predecessor Farmajo. “I greet my brother here, the new President Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud, and wish him good luck in the enormous task ahead of him.”the latter said, promising his “solidarity”.
Thirty-six candidates decided under a tent
These elections were held more than a year late in this unstable country in the Horn of Africa, shaken by a protracted political crisis, which is also suffering from a historic drought. Deputies and senators began voting on Sunday to decide among the thirty-six candidates, under a tent placed under curfew and erected on the perimeter of Mogadishu airport, where security forces are omnipresent.
At the beginning of the voting, explosions were heard near the airport, a reminder of how precarious the security situation in the country is. However, police said no casualties were reported.
Voting follows a complex indirect system, in which state assemblies and delegates from a myriad of clans and subclans choose lawmakers who, in turn, appoint the president.
After several hours devoted to this vote, broadcast on national television, this complex electoral process has entered its third and final phase with the two candidates still in the running, including outgoing president Farmajo and his predecessor Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud. During this final consultation, parliamentary officials counted more than 165 votes in favor of Mr. Mohamoud, confirming his victory. The two finalists were among the four qualified after the first round of voting.
A year of political crisis
Farmajo’s mandate had expired in February 2021, without an agreement with regional leaders on organizing new elections. The two-year extension of his mandate by parliamentarians in April 2021 had ignited the fighting in Mogadishu, reviving the memory of the decades of civil war that devastated the country after 1991. The last few months have also been characterized by a growing rivalry between Farmajo and his Prime Minister. Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who had been in charge of organizing the elections.
For a year and a half, the international community has multiplied calls to carry out the elections, believing that the delays have distracted the authorities from fighting the radical Islamists shebab, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, who are leading an insurrection in the country for fifteen years. . The latter have intensified their attacks in recent months, in particular by carrying out a bloody double attack in the center of the country on March 24 (48 dead), then a major attack on an African Union force base (10 dead according to an official report ).