Former Somali president re-elected during vote in airport hangar

A former Somali president who was voted out of power in 2017 has been re-elected to the country’s top job after defeating the incumbent leader in a contest decided by legislators in a third round of voting.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who served as Somali president between 2012 and 2017, won the contest in the capital, Mogadishu, amid a security lockdown imposed by authorities to prevent deadly militant attacks.

The first round of voting was contested by 36 hopefuls, four of whom proceeded to the second round.Ugandan peacekeepers with the African Transition Mission in Somalia stand next to their armoured vehicle (Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP)Ugandan peacekeepers with the African Transition Mission in Somalia stand next to their armoured vehicle

With no candidate winning at least two-thirds of the 328 ballots, voting went into a third round where Mr Mohamud won by a simple majority.

Members of the upper and lower legislative chambers picked the president in secret balloting inside a tent in an airport hangar within the Halane military camp, which is protected by African Union peacekeepers.

Mr Mohamud’s election ended a protracted electoral process that raised political tensions and heightened insecurity concerns, after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s mandate expired in February 2021 without a successor in place.Somali lawmakers are checked by security forces as they arrive to cast their votes in the presidential election (Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP)Somali lawmakers are checked by security forces as they arrive to cast their votes in the presidential election

Mr Mohamed and Mr Mohamud sat side-by-side on Sunday, watching calmly as the ballots were counted.

Celebratory gunfire rang out in parts of Mogadishu as it became clear that Mr Mohamud had defeated the man who replaced him five years ago.

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