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Somalia Wakes Up to New President

Somalia Wakes Up  to New President Somalia Wakes Up  to New President

A former prime minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, was elected Somalia›s president on Wednesday, declaring a new «era of unity» as he took on the daunting task of bringing the long-chaotic country its first fully functioning central government in a quarter-century.

Thousands of jubilant Somalis poured into the streets, chanting the new president›s name as cheering soldiers fired into the air.

Incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held a slight lead over Farmajo after an initial round of voting on Wednesday that included a field of 21 candidates. But Farmajo easily won the second round contested among three candidates, with 184 votes to Mohamud›s 97.

Fears of attacks by the self-styled extremist group al-Shabaab dogged the historic vote, which was limited to lawmakers instead of the population at large, with members of the upper and lower houses of parliament casting ballots at a heavily guarded former air force base in the capital, Mogadishu, while a security lockdown closed the international airport.

The new president represents a generation of Somalis scattered abroad by conflict, who have cautiously begun to return to help their homeland recover.

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