MOGADISHU — Somalia’s lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Monday for political newcomer Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to be the country’s next president, with the streets of the capital erupting into celebratory gunfire.
The country’s lawmakers were voting in the first poll of its kind in decades. The vote was billed by the United Nations as a milestone in the war-ravaged country’s quest to end more than 20 years of violence, graft and clan feuds.
Mohamud, seen as a moderate, unexpectedly defeated incumbent President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed after two the four candidates who made it to the second round of voting opted out.
One of them, outgoing Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali who threw his weight behind Mohamud’s candidacy, said the result heralded a new era for Somali politics.
“Somalia voted for change,” Ali told Reuters, adding it was too early to say if he would take part in the new administration.
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