Sunday May 15, 2022
Mogadishu (HOL) - In what has become a familiar scene on election night in Somalia's capital, celebratory gunfire rang out across Mogadishu on Sunday night to commemorate the electoral victory of a President. After nearly ten hours of marathon voting, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud handily defeated incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in the third and final round of polling, receiving 214 out of a possible 328 votes.
Farmajo was able to secure 110 votes.
There were three spoilt ballots in the final round.
Sunday's poll marked the first time in Somalia that a former president was reelected to lead the Horn of the Africa nation of 16 million.
The election will be memorable because of the frequent twists and turns.
After the first round of voting, Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni led all candidates with 65 votes.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was a distant third with 52 votes, but he doubled his vote in the second round.
Only four candidates - Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, Hassan Ali Khayre, Said Abdullahi Deni and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud - out of the 37 presidential hopefuls advanced to the second round.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud put some distance between himself and the candidates in the second round, scoring 27 more votes than his closest contender, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Said Abdullahi Deni scored 68 votes while Hassan Ali Khayre finished fourth with 63 votes.
In the final round, Mohamud increased his vote take by an impressive 104 votes, from 110 to 214. Farmajo could only secure 27 of the 134 available votes left behind by Deni and Khayre.
The election happened under the backdrop of heavy security at the Afisioni tent in Mogadishu's international airport. ATMIS, the successor to the African Union Mission in Somalia, was charged with securing the venue.
A 33-hour police curfew from Saturday at 9:00 p.m. until Monday at 6:00 a.m. is technically in effect. However, it is unlikely to be enforced as thousands of Mogadishu residents throng on the streets.
Former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo placed 2nd in all of the rounds.
It will be Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's second time serving as Somalia's president.
On 10 September 2012, Mohamud defeated fellow presidential candidate and former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed after two rounds of voting to become Somalia's eighth president.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will face a litany of immediate problems to tackle from his first day in office. This year's elections were held amidst the worst drought in 40 years. The UN has warned that six million Somalis - or 40 percent of the population - are now facing extreme hunger levels.
The country is also facing a looming IMF deadline on Tuesday for the renewal of the three-year budget support programme; at stake is nearly $400 million and the chance to have over 5 billion dollars in debt forgiven. In late April, the Somali government wrote to the IMF requesting a three-month extension to review the economic program.
On the security front, Al-Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked militant insurgency group waging a deadly war against Somalia's internationally-backed government for over a decade, has proved to be a resilient guerilla force with influence over large swaths of land in the south and central Somalia. The group is able to extract resources, either livestock or cash - from the local population and use the regions as a base to execute attacks against the Somali government and African Union forces - seemingly at will.
According to Somalia's provisional constitution, Mohamud has thirty days from his inauguration to nominate a Prime Ministe