Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed newly elected President of Somalia
www.chinaview.cn 2009-01-31 15:04:55   Print

    MOGADISHU, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, a moderate Islamist leader, was elected president of Somalia by the country's enlarged parliament of on Saturday morning after night long voting in Djibouti City where the legislative has been meeting.
Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the moderate Islamist leader of the opposition coalition the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, seen here in 2006, wins the Somali presidency in a parliamentary vote in Djibouti early Saturday.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the moderate Islamist leader of the opposition coalition the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, seen here in 2006, wins the Somali presidency in a parliamentary vote in Djibouti early Saturday. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
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    Born in 1964 in Middle Shabelle province, Ahmed has been the leader of the Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC), an Islamist movement made up of clan-based Islamic Sharia courts, which ruled much of southern and central Somalia in the second half of 2006 after defeating warlords accused of oppressing local residents.

    Ahmed, who studied at universities in Sudan and Libya, is considered a moderate Islamist and had worked prior to his involvement in the the movement as a teacher at secondary schools in Mogadishu.

    After only six months in power, the movement he led was ousted by allied Ethiopian and Somali government forces which accused the UIC of threatening the national security of Ethiopia and of challenging the Somali transitional government which had been confined to the southern town of Baidoa by then.

    Ahmed fled Somalia to the Kenyan border where he was taken to the capital Nairobi and met U.S. diplomats but later made his base in the Eritrean capital Asmara where he and some of his colleagues founded an opposition coalition, the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS).

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the moderate Islamist leader of the opposition coalition the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, seen here in 2006, wins the Somali presidency in a parliamentary vote in Djibouti early Saturday.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the moderate Islamist leader of the opposition coalition the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, seen here in 2006, wins the Somali presidency in a parliamentary vote in Djibouti early Saturday. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
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    He split with one of the leaders of ARS, the hardliner cleric Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys after starting peace talks with the Somali government last year.

    The UN-sponsored talks between the ARS led by Ahmed and Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein's transitional government led to a peace and power-sharing deal that resulting in the enlargement of the Somali transitional parliament which accommodated 200 members from Ahmed's faction of the ARS.

    After two rounds of voting, Ahmed was elected as the Somali president with wide majority of the votes early on Saturday.

    Ahmed has pledged to forge good relations with neighboring countries in the region including Ethiopia whose troops toppled his administration in the south-central Somalia in 2006. He has also pledged a clean government and to work to bring those outside the current peace process on board.

    Ahmed, a father of two, is widely accredited for spearheading the stabilization of the southern part of the war-torn Horn of Africa nation during his movement's rule late in 2006.

    He will be sworn in at a ceremony later on Saturday, in which a number of regional head of states and government are expected to attend.

    After the Swearing-in ceremony, Ahmed will fly to Addi Ababa, Ethiopia for the 12th African Union summit.

Editor: Han Jingjing
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