Lawmakers in Somalia’s Puntland region have elected a former cabinet minister as a new president.
Said Abdullahi emerged the winner in the third round of voting, receiving 35 votes against Asad Osman, a former military general, who got 31 votes, according to the regional assembly speaker, Abdihakim Ahmed.
Abdiweli Ali Gas, the outgoing president, failed to get enough votes in the first round that would allow him to proceed.
Abdullahi, who will serve for a five-year term, was sworn in immediately after the vote held in the region’s capital, Garowe. He was a former Ministry of Planning in the Somali government.
Puntland is a semi-autonomous region in northeastern Somalia. It was established in 1998 following a clan conference in Garowe to end conflicts as a result of lawlessness that erupted after the overthrow of military president, Siyad Bare, in 1991. It is now one of the five federal member states of Somalia.
A priority of the new leader is to forge a good relationship with the country’s federal government. For a long time, Puntland has been pushing back against the policies of the government in Mogadishu.
Abdulahi will also face growing threats from both al-Shabab and Isis militants, while having to rebuild the region’s economy, and fight corruption.