Somalia's ex-PM Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo wins presidential vote

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a dual Somali-American citizen and former Somali prime minister, astonished most analysts by winning an easy victory in the second round of voting in a heavily secured building at Mogadishu's airport, where 328 parliamentarians had gathered for the vote.

Abdullahi Mohammed Farmaajo was named the new leader after two rounds of voting and quickly took the oath of office.

Farmajo failed to win the required two-thirds majority, but had 184 votes to Mohamud's 97, prompting the incumbent to drop out to avoid a third round.

The outgoing president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, conceded defeat, in a sign that the war-ravaged nation can hope for a smooth transition of power.

Al-Shabab fighters stormed a hotel in the capital of the semi-autonomous Puntland region killing four guards, while two of the attackers also died, a senior Somali official said.

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"But of course Somalia's challenges are much larger than an individual", says Mr. Hashi, who worked in Mr. Mohamed's first cabinet.

If Farmajo is serious about cracking down on corruption, he has his work cut out for him in a country listed as the most corrupt in the world by Transparency International. A Somali and American citizen, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1993 and a master's degree in 2009 from the State University of NY at Buffalo.

Farmajo sought asylum in U.S.

.

In a communiqué by Mark C. Toner, US State Department's deputy spokesman, US congratulated the people of Somalia on the successful conclusion of their national electoral process.

Shabaab has been in decline since 2011 but still launches regular, deadly attacks against government, military and civilian targets in the capital Mogadishu and elsewhere.

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In a short speech, the new president said, "This victory belongs to the people of Somalia".

There are no promises either for how Mohamed's election could affect Somalia's complicated relationship with the United States - for whom the country appears at times to be both a valuable counterterrorism ally and a fertile breeding ground for America's enemies. He was politically active enough in the diaspora to be asked by former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to come back and serve.

Somalia is to hold its presidential election on Wednesday after numerous delays, with ongoing security concerns and warnings of starvation topping the agenda for the new administration.

Somalia's instability landed it on a list of seven Muslim-majority countries affected by President Donald Trump's travel ban, even though its government has been an increasingly important partner for US military counterterrorism efforts.

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