12 Sep 2012

New president elected in Somalia

1:21 pm on 12 September 2012

Somalia has a new president after members of parliament held a secret vote on Monday. The outcome was 190 votes in favor of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to 79 against.

The United Nations hailed the result as a milestone for the country.

President Mohamud, 56, is largely unknown abroad and has a tough task ahead.

The former university dean was born in 1955 in central Somalia and founded the Party for Peace and Development in April 2011.

Deutsche Welle Radio reports there's nothing the country needs more after two decades of conflict.

''He has a profound knowledge of the intricate political situation (in Somalia),'' said Center for Research and Dialogue director Jabril Abdulle in Mogadishu.

Laura Hammond from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London said the election represents a clear vote for a new beginning and a rejection of the clientele system of former president Sharif Ahmed.

"Somalis are really encouraged by the developments and surprised that the new parliament has the courage to stand up and push for change," she told Deutsche Welle.

Mohamud's success will depend on "how he will put together his cabinet and select the prime minister", said CRD Director Jibril Abdulle.

''That will be a first indication of how he wants to govern the country."

Deutsche Welle said Mohamud helped get rid of a divide between north and south Mogadishu after the 1992 war.

And al-Shabab allowed him to keep open the Somali Institute of Management and Administration. It has some 4000 registered students.