A former prime minister who holds dual Somali-US citizenship was declared Somalia’s new president on Wednesday, immediately taking the oath of office as the chaotic country moved toward its first fully functioning central government in a quarter-century.
Incumbent president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud conceded defeat after two rounds of voting, and former prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed – also known as Farmajo – was declared the new leader.
“History was made, we have taken this path to democracy, and now I want to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo,” Mohamud said.
Thousands of cheering Somalis quickly poured into the streets in jubilation, chanting the new president’s name. Cheering soldiers fired into the air. “Somalia will be another Somalia soon,” said Ahmed Ali, a police officer celebrating in the crowd.
The election took place under heavy security amid threats from extremist group al-Shabaab, with a security lockdown closing the capital’s international airport and cleared major streets.