Mogadishu – Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas, a former Somali prime minister, was elected president Wednesday of the semi-autonomous Puntland region, an area of Somalia struggling to shed its image as a pirate haven and still threatened by Islamist militants.

An economist by training, Ali was elected by lawmakers by the narrowest of margins, scoring 33 votes in the third round of polling, just one more than incumbent President Abdurahman Mohamed Farole. One vote was spoilt.

The 66 lawmakers who cast their votes were appointed last month by clan elders in the poverty-stricken region, which forms the tip of the Horn of Africa and makes up around a third of Somalia’s territory.

“I am very grateful for the support of my people who trusted me to run Puntland,” Ali, in his late forties, told those assembled at the parliament building.

Incumbent Farole accepted defeat gracefully, wished his rival well and said the election had been “clean and democratic”.

“I’m very proud of the way it has been handled,” he said.

“I fully support the victory of Abdiweli and I expect him to lead the region just as well as we did,” Farole said.

Puntland set up its own government in 1998, but unlike neighbouring Somaliland, it has not declared full independence. The region has struggled to rebuild after years of war, and in addition to battling pockets of Shebab in the mountains has struggled to stamp out pirate bases along its coast.

The vote went into a third round after no candidate succeeded in obtaining a two-thirds majority in the first two rounds.

Kidnapping, piracy and terrorism

International Crisis Group said it was watching the elections closely as Puntland is the first of Somalia’s federal units to attempt the tricky transition from clan-based representation to directly-elected government. The rest of the war-torn Horn of Africa nation has committed to make the same transition by 2016.

“Puntland’s experience shows that donors and other international actors also need to be heedful of local political realities, including support of elites, robustness of institutions and viability of electoral districts,” the think-tank said in a report published ahead of the polls.

The Puntland authorities were taking no chances with security Wednesday. Roads into the capital Garowe have been closed since Tuesday evening and the area round the parliament building is closed even to pedestrians.

In early December a car bomb in Puntland’s main port Bosaso, which lies on the Gulf of Aden, left at least 11 dead.

Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents operate from the rugged Golis mountains southwest of Bosaso, a lawless region under longtime control of warlord, arms dealer and Shebab ally Mohamed Said Atom, who is under UN Security Council sanctions for “kidnapping, piracy and terrorism”.

Shabaab fighters have in the past launched attacks on military bases near Bosaso.

Six out of the 17 people who were initially candidates dropped out, many of them discouraged by a non-refundable inscription fee of 10,000 dollars.

Observers said that the fact all 11 candidates who stayed in the race were from the Majerten, itself a sub-clan of the regionally dominant Darood group, increased the chances of the poll going ahead peacefully.

Elections were originally due to have been held in July, but they were postponed by the government, which at the time said the risk of violence was too great.


  1. Let's how this guy conducts his politics towards the Somaliland after defeating Faroole.
    When he was the PM of the TFG, his policies were bad against the Somaliland.

  2. it is normal behavior that all somali people weather educator or not pridict always the bad idea but i wish the new president Dr.A/wali, good future and will take part the re-build of our great nation somalia AMIIN

  3. Abdiwali was the only Bugland's presidential candidate who came to Badhan and campaigned that he would, if elected, liberate sool, sanaag and cayn from Somailand. through the means of force. The worst and most myopic politicians are those who promise the sky during election campaign trails and become unable to deliver their promises after the election. It is my belief that however much Abdiwali deludes himself that Majeerteens are staunch allies of the natives of Badhan, Sool and Cayn by birth, it would do well to remember that Somaliland would not ditch a fraction of its sovereignity at any rate.

  4. Our forces should be moved to the borders, and if this so-called President of the tiny enclave of Majeerteen in Somalia, tries stupid thing and interfere our domestic affairs' face a drastic action. We can concur Garowe within hours.

    Puntland must understand that interference with our borders carry heavy penalty.

    • Did u say tiny enclave? because PL is about 1/3 of Somalia that's a large chunk of land. I can name u just 3 MJ subclans who have more lands than all Id*^r clan.

  5. mohamed dheers
    what do you expect from faqash wake up my fallow isaaqs daarood hates us because we are simply isaaq as

    • Abaayo since when did you get into politics? Daarood does not hate Isaaq, I don't see a reason why Daarood should hate Isaaq, my beautiful wife is from Hargeisa, Hawiya and Daarood hated each other more than any other clans since the civil war erupted and now they both understood cooperation and peace is better than confrontation and war.

    • Misslovely darling stay away from me..last time you said the two men killed in Burao were HJ?
      When the whole episode was in fact non-HJ but Rather other tribes. From that day on wards
      I made up my mind to verify your comments…do me a favour..stay away from me okay. more thing..behave lady like.

  6. I listened Hersi Gab reaction on somali tv today while team of SL is departing to Turkey. He made one of his best speech very tough against Pirateland as he advice them strongly to stay away from country affairs otherwise pirates will regret it. For few minutes Hersi become a leader and not as usually a little despotic clannish man who should better go back to Burco teaching in Madrassa…lol

    • Hornid,
      Hey mate, your first compliment and then despites about Hon. Hersi Gab are contradictory.
      If you really hate the man stay on course but damn it stop dividing yourself into…
      you know what. Hon. Hersi has managed to swim out of many political hurdles
      and surfaced to stay right on top of all his foes and allies alike.

  7. I do not consider this as a democratic election.It is the gathering of only 66 individuals, that decide the future of pirateland by giving only 33 votes fort his guy to run Pirateland for the next five years.
    The true democracy in whole of East Africa so far is two Countries, that is Kenya and Somaliland where the people of both countries voted one man, one vote.
    Any other election is just a joke!

    • @Gelle,
      The most important thing is peace and stability of Puntland region and the peaceful power transfer transition from one administration to another. The rest can be figure out in the near future.

      • "By the rest" I mean the one man one vote election process. But for now we are happy with peace, stability, and smooth power transfer in our region.

  8. Typical Id*&r article always concentrating more on the negative. We know piracy has drastically been reduced and most have fled to other parts of Somalia. While the Atom terror network is no way as strong as the southern shabab terror who has strong links with Khatland government.

  9. Puntland President from Galkayo vice from Buhoodle Khaatumo. SNM having heart-attack emergency meeting as we speak. Its about to go down up in this Biatch : )

      • Triangleland is surrounded facing the sea and this time there will be no IRIR SOS. We shall have our popcorn and 3D glasses ready ; )

  10. From PM of the defunct TFG, to building a political base in his home region. I think the people of Puntland knew that things were drifting under Farole, but Abdiweli is using this post to get back into the political picture in Somalia. We in Somaliland shall wait and see as to how Abdiweli conducts himself. We are ready for all eventualities.

  11. I don’t think his election makes any difference to Puntland except it may help the Somalia govt as his administration may have a better relationship with the govt in Mogadishu than Faroole was. If anything he may even make the situation in Puntland worse by creating unnecessary full scale conflict between Puntland and Somaliland. Also remember he presided over the most corrupt transitional govt in the history of Somalia during his time as a Somalia Prime Minister. Let’s wait and see what sort of policies he adopts.

  12. Should the new president of Puntland claim any territory of Somaliland, we will simply held this responsible to the Federal government of Somalia and consequently withdrew from the ongoing peace talk.