8 January 2014

Somalia: Former Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Elected President of Puntland

Former Somali Prime Minister, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, has been elected the fifth president of the Puntland State of Somalia, defeating incumbent President Abdirahman Farole in the third round of voting by a single vote.

No candidates secured the required two-thirds majority in the first and second round of voting, though Abdirahman Farole led in both votes.

Eight candidates were eliminated in the first round voting. In the third round, President-Elect Abdiweli Gas won 33 votes of the total 66 votes, while President Abdirahman Farole got 32 votes, one vote was cancelled. The whole voting processes was broadcast live on local TVs and radio stations. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali will now lead Puntland for the next five year.

President Abdiweli was born in Galkacyo in Mudug region in 1965. He has an MA from Harvard and a PhD in Economics from the George Mason University, Washington, and served as a minister and Prime Minister under Somali President Sheikh Sharif.

Puntland declared itself a semi-autonomous region of Somalia in 1998, and the region of about 2.5 million people has had four previous presidents, all elected by the region's MPs who were in turn selected by clan elders.

The new President said he was "very grateful for the support of my people who trusted me to run Puntland". Incumbent Abdirahman Farole wished the new President well and said the election had been "clean and democratic".

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