Garowe — The former president of Puntland government in northern Somalia Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Farole officially handed over power on Tuesday to newly elected Puntland President Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gas, Garowe Online reports.
The event was held at Puntland State House in Garowe and attended by Puntland's current and former leaders, Cabinet ministers, international representatives including UNSOM and Ethiopian consul-general in Puntland.
President Farole said he is happy to transfer power over to new President Gas and wished the incoming president success during his term.
"Today I had over command of Puntland security forces and control over government institutions to new President Abdiweli [Gas]," said former President Farole, adding: "Those who celebrated that I [Farole] left power should recognize that another man [Gas] with same policy has been elected".
Dr. Farole said that the outgoing administration has "many development projects pending and ready to be implemented, including construction of Bossaso and Garowe airports, and rehabilitation of Galkayo-Bossaso tarmac highway".
Continuing, Dr. Farole said: "My wish is to see a Puntland with security, unity and soladirity. Only when we help build stronger Puntland can we contribute to rebuilding a new Somalia under the agreed-upon federal system. Today Puntland has security forces and my administration fought against security threats, including terrosim and piracy. Today there are no foreign ships being held hostage by Somali pirates along the Puntland coast, and this is a big achievement".
President Farole pledged to "assist the new administration with advise voluntarily as needed" and thanked all members of the administration for working together for Puntland, and urged all security forces, government workers and the Puntland public to work with the new administration.
New President Dr. Gas thanked the outgoing Puntland leadership for the "tremendous achievements" and pledged to "continue building on the success of the former administration".
"President Farole has shown leadership and has led Puntland to this point. We wish him a safe, happy and healthy life. We also need his statesman support and advice as we move Puntland forward," said President Gas.
Former Vice President Gen. Abdisamad Ali Shire and newly elected Vice President Abdihakim Abdullahi Omar Amey were present at the hand over ceremony in Garowe.
After the hand-over ceremony was completed, President Gas and former President Farole toured 54th Army Base in the outskirts of Garowe, the Puntland police headquarters, and a number of government ministries.
On January 8, President Gas defeated then-incumbent President Farole in a hotly contested 33-32 parliament vote. The Puntland election 2014 was televised live over Somali satellite TV stations and has garnered support and praise from around the world.
Puntland is a regional autonomy located in northern Somalia and has had a functioning government since 1998.