The parliament in Somalia's Puntland government has elected former Somali Prime Minister Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (Gaas) as the new president of Puntland State of Somalia, Garowe Online reports.
The 66-member Parliament opened at 9.30am local time with Speaker Said Hassan Shire opening the session and praying for a peaceful election.
Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (Gaas), President-elect of Puntland State of Somalia
MP Saadiq Abshir Garaad, chairman of election committee, told the session about the voting procedure and warned MPs not to intermingle with anyone, adding: "All lobbying time is done. It is now voting time".
During the first round of voting, 11 candidates including incumbent President Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Farole competed for the top post.
During the second round of voting, the top three contenders - Dr. Gaas, Dr. Farole and Mr. Ali Haji Warsame - competed while the remaining eight candidates were eliminated in the first round.
Second round vote results were:
1. Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (Gaas) received 18 votes
2. Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole) received 31 votes
3. Mr. Ali Haji Warsame received 16 votes
During the third round of voting, the results were as follows:
1. Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (Gaas) received 33 votes
2. Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole) received 32 votes
Speaker of Parliament Said Hassan Shire declared the vote results, saying that one vote was spoiled and discounted by the election committee.
"Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas was been elected as the next President of Puntland for the next five years," said Speaker Shire to the crowd's applause.
Dr. Farole addressed the session, saying that he "gracefully accepts the results", adding: "I congratulate by brother [President-elect] Abdiweli and I call upon all the government workers, officials and security forces to work with the new President".
Dr. Farole said: "Many people doubted Puntland election process since we tried the democratization process. Today we can all see the voting process. I remind the new President that Puntland has many enemies. I remind him that Puntland should be first, then helping Somalia should be second. What belongs to us all is the people, the State and our system".
President-elect Dr. Abdiweli Gaas said: "I am happy to be elected. I am grateful to the hard and tremendous work of the outgoing administration under former President Farole and I promise to defend and abide by Puntland Constitution".
The presidential election process concluded and the Puntland MPs proceeded to elect the next Vice President of Puntland.
Puntland is a peaceful territory in northern Somalia with a functioning administration since 1998. Puntland has held elections in 1998, 2005 and 2009, followed by a smooth transition of power.