ROME/NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 9 – The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano congratulated Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” upon his election as Federal President of Somalia. Alfano welcomed the outcome of the polls, saying that “the presidential elections are going to open a new chapter in the history of the Country”.
The Italian Minister conveyed the new president his appreciation for the February 8 consultation: “An important step towards the full return of democracy in Somalia”. Alfano praised the decision of outgoing president Hassan Sheik Mohamoud to accept the rival candidate’s success: “It was a gesture with strong democratic meaning”.
In New York the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres congratulated “Farmajo” upon his election, while commending AMISOM and the Somali security forces for ensuring a secure environment during the poll.
Mr. Guterres expresses the hope that President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” will move expeditiously to form an inclusive Cabinet. “The new Government and federal member states should together tackle urgent national priorities immediately, including finalising the constitution and establishing effective national security forces. The current humanitarian situation created by the drought and the imperative of averting a famine should, however, be at the top of the agenda. The United Nations stands ready to support the Government in this regard”, Guterres said, expressing his appreciation to international partners, including the African Union, the European Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the League of Arab States and donor countries for their vital support to the electoral process and continuing humanitarian assistance.
Somalia has not had a one-person one-vote democratic election since 1969. That vote was followed by a coup, dictatorship and conflict involving clan militias and Islamist extremists. The election was part of a lengthy and complex process to help the East African state rebuild its democracy and achieve stability. More than 20,000 African Union (AU) troops are stationed in Somalia to prevent militant Islamist group al-Shabab from overthrowing the weak government. Fears of attacks 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, a former prime minister, is popularly known as “Farmajo”, from the Italian for cheese, because of his love for the dairy product. (@OnuItalia)