News24

Somalia election an important step – UK

2012-09-11 12:25

London - British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday hailed as a "significant moment" Somalia's election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president but warned the country faced a long road to democracy.

"This is a significant moment for Somalia, and an important step towards a renewed political process," Cameron said in a statement.

The British prime minister praised the role played by outgoing president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in stabilising Somalia and urged the new incumbent to build on his work.

"The coming months and years are critical for Somalia's transition to democracy," he stressed.

"Somalia's leaders must now work together to build a more representative and transparent system, tackle corruption and strengthen security and stability."

Lawmakers chose Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president after the 56-year-old lecturer defeated incumbent Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in a run-off.

Many sceptical observers had voiced fears that the vote would simply return the same corruption-tainted leadership but dark horse Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, an academic and activist, won 190 votes against 79 for the outgoing president, who had been seen as the likely winner until late in the day.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud came second out of 25 candidates in the first round, clocking up 60 votes, against 64 for Sharif. His victory in the run-off was greeted with celebratory shooting in the streets of Mogadishu.