Somalia: Puntland parliament picks new speaker ahead of the presidential election
GAROWE, Puntland - Somalia's northeastern Puntland state parliament on Friday elected Abdihakim Mohamed Ahmed "Dhobo" as assembly speaker after winning majority votes, Garowe Online reports.
Ahmed won the parliament's highest position representing the northern Sanaag region, after securing 43 out of 66 votes, defeating former Livestock Minister, Abdijamal Osman who garnered 23 votes in the second round.
The new speaker contested for the office in 2014 and 2015.
The 66-seat-chamber members have cast their votes in transparent ballot boxes in accordance with the bylaws set by parliamentary sub-committee on the election.
The four candidates - Abdihakim Mohamed Ahmed [Dhobo], Abdirashid Yusuf Jibril, Abdirahman Ali Jibril, and Abdijamal Osman competed for the speakership in the most democratic contested election in the history.
The candidates lost in the race conceded defeat and congratulated Ahmed, the winner on his landmark victory. The voting was televised live from the state capital by several Somali-owned private television.
After the election result was announced, the newly elected Speaker has thanked the candidates who have contested with him, the lawmakers and the electoral commission.
Meanwhile, the parliament members also picked two deputies - Abdiaziz Abdullahi Osman becomes the first deputy speaker while Ismail Mohamed Warsame was elected to assembly's second speaker.
The MPs will elect the presidential electoral committee who will preside over the upcoming key presidential election in Puntland which is slated for next Tuesday, on 8th January 2019.
So far, more than 20 candidates, including the incumbent president, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali "Gaas" who is running for the second term in office have declared their interest to compete for Puntland presidency.
The overall Security of Garowe and its environs has been beefed up as the government deployed additional soldiers in the town, mainly the entry points to avert security threats during the ongoing election period.
Puntland has recently banned Federal Government officials and Ministers in Mogadishu from visiting Garowe in the run-up of the voting, in an attempt to prevent interference and manipulation in its elections.