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Somalia: presidential election starts under tight security 

Somalia legislators cast their ballots during presidential elections at Mogadishu's fortified airport on 15 May 2022 [STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images]
Somalia legislators cast their ballots during presidential elections at Mogadishu's fortified airport on 15 May 2022 [STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images]

Somali lawmakers met on Sunday at Mogadishu International Airport to choose a new president for the country amid tight security measures, Anadolu news agency has reported.

The Speaker of Parliament, Adan Mohamed Nur, said in his opening remarks that all members of parliament, including the People's Assembly and the Senate, were present in the hall. As such, he declared the beginning of the first round of voting. The speaker added that six candidates have withdrawn from the race, reducing the number of candidates to 33.

The presidential election is taking place amid strict security measures imposed by the authorities. A curfew is in place and all main streets in the capital, Mogadishu, have been closed.

The most prominent candidates are incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo; two former presidents, Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed; former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khairy; and the President of Puntland State, Saeed Abdullah Deni. All 329 members of parliament participated in the secret vote inside a tent at Mogadishu International Airport.

The election process often goes through three rounds, unless one of the candidates obtains the vote of two-thirds of all MPs in the first round. In the event that no candidate receives this number of votes, a second round is held where the four candidates with the highest number of votes will be voted on again. In the third and final round, the two candidates with the largest number of votes in the second round compete against each other to be president.

READ: Somalia: parliament picks new speaker amid security standoff

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