Ex Planning Minister Deni Elected Puntland President
Puntland, Somalia's northern semi-autonomous region, has elected a new president Tuesday. Mr Said Abdullahi Deni emerged winner in the third round of voting in the region's parliament beating 20 other candidates. He is a former Planning Minister and had contested the Somali presidency in 2017 which President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” won. In the Tuesday poll, Mr Deni garnered 35 votes closely followed by former intelligence chief Mr Asad Osman Abdullahi, who got 31 votes. The two edged out ex-finance minister Farah Ali Shire who received only three votes in the second round. All other candidates including president Abdiweli Ali Gaas lost in the first round of voting. Mr Deni takes over from the Gaas administration rocked by allegations of graft, nepotism and insecurity. He will lead the region until 2023. Somalia's five regions - Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West State, and Jubaland - have been holding presidential elections progressively from November to end of 2019. The South West State went to the polls in November. Hirshabelle is next after Puntland. Puntland, an oil rich state, despite becoming semi-autonomous in 1998 is yet to achieve universal suffrage. The region is also often entangled in territorial disputes with the self-declared republic of Somaliland.