Somalia’s former leader Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been elected president after a final vote that was only open to 328 MPs.
The voting by parliamentarians on Sunday was carried out in an airport hangar protected by blast walls from Islamist insurgents whom Mohamud must now fight for a second time.
He defeated the current president, Mohamed Abudallahi Farmajo, who has been in office since 2017.
The former education campaigner and peace activist who ruled from 2012 to 2017 would face a daunting task in the nation of 15 million people which is suffering its worst drought in four decades and has endured seemingly never-ending conflict since 1991.
“We have to move ahead; we do not need grudges. No avenging,” the 66-year old said in his acceptance speech from the airport compound in the capital Mogadishu patrolled by African Union (AU) peacekeepers.
The outgoing president Farmajo urged Somalis “to support and pray for the success” of the new president.
Defying a curfew, supporters have poured onto the streets of Mogadishu, cheering and firing guns into the air to celebrate Mohamud’s victory.
World leaders have been sending in congratulatory messages to Mohamud for his win in Sunday’s election.
The prime minister of neighbouring Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has said he looks forward to working with the new president on regional interests.
The UK’s Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, said she was looking forward to her government “continuing its close work to support on building stability, tackling al-Shabab and supporting those affected by the devastating drought” in Somalia.
The European Union ambassador to Somalia and the country’s ambassador to Somalia tweeted their congratulations