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.
By Daniel Ooko
NAIROBI, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- United Nations top envoy
for Somalia has hailed Somali lawmakers for election of the Horn of Africa
nation's new president "in the open and transparent manner".
In a statement issued in Nairobi on Saturday, Ahmedou
Ould-Abdallah, the UN Special Representative for Somalia, said he was pleased
that the candidates had pledged to support a Government of National Unity based
on inclusion, tolerance and political cooperation.
"We are finally seeing progress from the hard work by
all sides to create an inclusive Parliament," he said in a statement. "I would
like to congratulate and encourage all the Parliamentarians to work for the good
of the country."
After a long night of voting in neighboring Djibouti,
the members of Somalia's newly expanded Transitional Federal Parliament chose
the chairman of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif
Sheikh Ahmed, as Somalia's new President.
Eleven candidates stood in the first round in which
Ahmed won the most votes but failed to win the necessary two thirds of the votes
The second round, between Ahmed and the son of former
Somali President Mohammed Siad Barre, Maslah Mohamed Siad, was won by Ahmed with
more than two thirds of the votes cast.
Ould-Abdallah pointed out that during the first round
of voting Ahmed and the Prime Minister, Nur Hassan Hussein, the two leading
figures in the ongoing Djibouti process, had both received strong support from
He praised the "open and transparent manner" in which
the two rounds of voting were carried out.
"I am also pleased that the new President is
committed to policies based on close cooperation with IGAD member states,
particularly Somalia's neighbors -- Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya as well as with
the African Union," he said.
"I understand they will work closely with all other
international community members such as the League of Arab States, the
Organization of Islamic Conference, the European Union, the European Commission
and the United Nations."
Ould-Abdallah said he would do his best to ensure
that the international community would support the new Government of National
Unity, provided the government demonstrates its determination to promote a
stable and tolerant Somalia.
"The international community has already pledged to
support this process and I will do my best to ensure that the commitments from
donors and partners are honoured."
Meanwhile, Ahmed has been sworn in as the new
president of Somalia just months after his ARS signed a peace deal with the
The ceremony in neighboring Djibouti on Saturday came
after Ahmed, who also led the Islamic Courts Union, won a run-off parliamentary
The new president's Islamic courts movement ruled
Mogadishu and most of southern Somalia for six months before being ousted by the
Ethiopian military at the end of 2006.
"My government will bring an adequate plan to
overcome the difficulties the nation is facing," Ahmed said in a brief
"I will deal with the humanitarian situation in the country and give priority to those who have been displaced by war."
Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed newly elected
President of Somalia
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.